The melting of sea ice and the resulting rush for resources require effective measures to avoid damage in the Arctic, according to the latest report of UN Environment Programme (UNEP). A reduction in Arctic summer ice cover has become more intense in recent years, culminating in a record low of 3.4 million square kilometres in 2012 – 18 per cent below the previous recorded minimum in 2007 and 50 per cent below the average in the 1980s and 1990s, which added that land ice is also retreating and permafrost is melting. The retreating ice brings easier access to natural resources such as gas and oil, thus prompting increased human activity that may threaten the already fragile ecosystems and wildlife. It is estimated that 30 per cent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and more than 70 per cent of the undiscovered oil resources in the Arctic. The report contains many recommendations on the way forward for the Arctic, with the most important being the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. No steps to exploit the new environmental state of the Arctic should be taken without first assessing how the exploitation would affect ecosystems, the peoples of the North and the rest of the world as the potential for major environmental damage is high. [UN news]
Pray for the Arctic Environment:
Pray that all nations will take effective measure to combat global warming;
Pray that people will thoughtfully consider the long-term effect of the exploitation in the Arctic, rather than the immediate profit.
Save the Children launched a campaign ‘Superfood for Babies’. It is a global call to action to rediscover the importance of breastfeeding and to support mothers to breastfeed their babies – especially in the poorest communities in the poorest countries. Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to tackle malnutrition; a simple, natural way to boost a baby’s immune system. If all babies were breastfed in the first hour after birth, the new report said, the lives of 95 babies would be saved every single hour – 830,000 a year. If babies receive Colostrum – the mother’s first milk – within an hour of birth, it will kick start the child’s immune system, making them three times more likely to survive. The four major barriers that prevent mothers from breastfeeding are also examined in the report: community and cultural pressures, the shortage of health workers, lack of maternity legislation, inappropriate promotion of breast-milk substitutes. [Super Food for Babies, Guardian]
Pray for Breastfeeding Campaign:
Pray that breastfeeding can be better promoted. More babies can receive the first milk to increase their survival rate;
Pray that the governments, international institutions and multinational companies can work together to ensure that every infant is given the life-saving protection that breastfeeding can offer.
[ePrayer – Pray for the farming and demonstrating project in Myanmar]
Give thanks for a successful completion of a two- week Agricultural Training attended by 25 farmers, two weeks field visit and a project evaluation by CEDAR Agricultural Consultant Mr Donn Armstrong. This time the training focused on growing of dry season crops, animal production and practical visits to commercial vegetable growers, flower growers, pig breeding and finishing unit and duck farms. The evaluation and field visits show that there was a good adoption of the ideas and principles promoted by previous course trainees in their area.
Pray for the farming and demonstrating project in Myanmar:
Pray that farmers can practice what they learned and know how to care for the soil and to rest one seventh of their land each year. (Seven Year Rest Crop Rotation)
Pray for the future long term development plans for the farming and demonstration farm. There is need to increase planting to give sustainable annual income.
Pray for upcoming discussion with partner based on recommendations from the evaluation report.
[ePrayer – Pray for the Children Ministry in Ethiopia]
Give thanks that God use CEDAR’s partner AAGC as a channel of His grace and love to the children and families in these years. AAGC is now serving around 200 children by providing education, food, vocational training and medical help. To ensure well being of children, AAGC also encourages children to participate in some social and spiritual activities. According to statistics, national HIV/AIDS infection rate is dropping and less discrimination is observed in AAGC’s target communities.
Pray for the Children Ministry in Ethiopia:
Pray that God to give AAGC the wisdom and strength to serve the communities, including those living with HIV/AIDS;
Pray for those families that AAGC is serving. Hope their living conditions can improve and may their lives be full of God’s love and grace.
[ePrayer – Pray for the FGM affected girls and women]
The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is observed on 6 February each year to raise awareness against this practice. All forms of FGM are harmful practices and violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. FGM has no known health benefits. On the contrary, it is associated with various short and long-term risks to both physical, mental and sexual health and well-being. FGM is affecting about 140 million girls and women, and more than 3 million girls are at risk every year. A special focus this year, is the worrying trend of some health-care providers are also the ones performing FGM, thus contributing to ‘legitimise’ and maintain the practice. [WHO, WNN]
Pray for the FGM affected girls and women:
Pray for total elimination of FGM, girls and women can free from this human rights violation;
Pray for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Real equality and justice can be achieved.
[ePrayer – Pray for better civil registration system in Asia]
Stronger civil registration systems are needed in Asia, home to 60 percent of the world’s population, to ensure the legal and human rights of all. Civil registration is the most basic requirement for individuals to establish legal identity and to formalise family relationships, and is thus a basic responsibility of the state. Without a legal identity, individuals may be deprived of the right of access to key public services such as health, education, social welfare and recourse to justice. Statistics show that only one quarter of the world’s seven billion inhabitants live in countries with registration systems that record births and death efficiently. 51 million children go unregistered each year globally, while in South Asia two out of three children are not registered at birth and thus have no official record of their names, family and place or date of birth. Birth certificates are crucial forms of social protection for vulnerable and marginalised groups such as people in poverty, and such registration can be an effective tool for preventing human trafficking and child marriages. [IRIN]
Pray for better civil registration system in Asia:
Pray that governments of Asian countries can take an active role to improve the civil registration system and remove the barriers such as geography, cultural differences, inadequate legal frameworks and provide funds for such changes;
Pray for public awareness towards the importance of civil registration and more marginalised group will get registered to protect their rights.