International News Desk – At Home: Vancouver makes a commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions – In Foreign News: More UN peacekeepers are coming from China than ever before

International News Desk – At Home: Vancouver makes a commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions – In Foreign News: More UN peacekeepers are coming from China than ever before

At Home: Vancouver makes a commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions

First British Columbia and now the city of Vancouver have decided to take the lead on curbing greenhouse gas emissions since Kyoto resolutions have failed to take place throughout Canada.

The aim is for the city to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (33% by 2020), according to CBC News (1). Vancouver’s Mayor Sam Sullivan, a member of the Non-Partisan Association, has announced his intentions to restrain carbon emissions with the EcoDensity plan.

Sullivan and local city councillors have agreed that the best way to curb emissions is not by reorganizing existing industries but by closely monitoring new industry initiatives and ensuring that these are built from the ground up with environmentally friendly policies in place.

The mayor’s website quotes him as saying that ?by fighting urban sprawl, Vancouver’s EcoDensity plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our quality of life? (2).

Sullivan and his staff hope that by changing the focus of development from the current effects on environment to a healthy future outlook on urban existence, developers will be able to bring new and ecologically viable plans into the city. Vancouver has maintained a strong stance on its environmental and economic policies over the years, notably aside from a recent decision allowing Wal-Mart to establish itself within the city.

Sullivan expects that since Kyoto has been all but ignored by nations across the world, whether they have signed on or not, it is up to the cities of those countries to implement change. Through EcoDensity, Vancouver plans to establish itself as a strong unit economically and environmentally so that its citizens might appreciate the diversity of nature around them.

1 CBC News, 2007. ?Vancouver sets green targets.? Retrieved June 28, 2007, from http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2007/06/27/bc-vancouver-green.html

2 Mayor Sam Sullivan website. “Mayor supports proposed motion to establish greenhouse gas emission targets.” Retrieved June 29, 2007, from http://www.mayorsamsullivan.ca/ecodensity

In Foreign News: More UN peacekeepers are coming from China than ever before

The blue-helmeted peacekeepers we know from news footage and movies like Hotel Rwanda are a diverse crowd, and most of us are very aware that many Canadian forces are trained within the United Nations peacekeeping unit and deployed all over the world. Despite this proud claim, however, it is countries like India, Uruguay, and Bangladesh that are actually contributing the most police, military observers, and troops to UN causes and expeditions.

In comparison, the contributions of highly developed nations seem entirely symbolic: Canada sent 131 troops, observers, and police this May while Pakistan sent 10,619. In May of 2006, Canada supplied 127 personnel while Bangladesh gave 10,288.

China has also had a lower standing in these statistics, relying on government funding to round out its contributions to the UN. However, in recent years there has been a boost in the number of personnel coming out of that country. China sent 1,060 people off for UN missions in January of 2006, and a year later the number had jumped to 1,861 (1). According to the Christian Science Monitor, the reason for this is an increased sense of social responsibility on the part of the Chinese people and government toward the African continent.

In the last seven years, China has cancelled a momentous amount of debt on behalf of African countries as well as boosting its development aid and promising further increases in coming years.

Ethiopian businessman Amari Kifle has said that the difference between Western (usually American) aid and Chinese aid is significant: ?We are tired of the condescending American style. True, the American government and American companies have done and do a lot here, but I always feel like they think they are doing us a favor . . . telling us how to do things and punishing us when we do it our own way. These Chinese are different. They are about the bottom line and allow us to sort out our side of the business as we see fit? (2).

1 United Nations Peacekeeping. ?Monthly Summary of Contributors of Military and Civilian Police Personnel.? Retrieved June 28, 2007, from http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/contributors/

2 Christian Science Monitor; 2007. ?China takes up civic work in Africa.? Retrieved June 27, 2007, from http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0627/p01s05-woaf.html?page=2

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