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French voyager named UNESCO Spokesperson for the Oceans

5 June 2009The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the renowned French seafarer, Maud Fontenoy, as its Spokesperson for the Oceans, ahead of the first UN World Oceans Day on 8 June. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the renowned French seafarer, Maud Fontenoy, as its Spokesperson for the Oceans, ahead of the first UN World Oceans Day on 8 June.Ms. Fontenoy, 31, famed for single-handedly rowing across the Atlantic in 2003 and the Pacific two years later, is tasked with raising awareness of the need to protect the ocean environment against major threats such as climate change, pollution and unchecked urban development of the world’s coastal areas. From 2006-2007, the navigator – who will serve as the new spokesperson for UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the World Ocean Network, a non-governmental organization – also sailed solo around the Southern hemisphere against the current.“When you sail around the world, you realize that the planet is not that big and that most of it is ocean,” said Ms. Fontenoy at a press conference held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris earlier this week. “You also see how much damage is being done to the ocean and understand how urgent it has become to protect it.”UNESCO-IOC was created in 1960 to promote international cooperation and coordinate programmes in research, sustainable development and the protection of the marine environment. read more

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UN relief official tours southern Sudan stresses need for humanitarian access

Arriving in Rumbek, Mr. Oshima got a first-hand look at a UN World Food Programme (WFP) food distribution facility. He also viewed the only primary school for girls in southern Sudan, run by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as well as a teacher training facility and a hospital rehabilitation project. Afterwards, he met with senior SPLM officials, underscoring the importance of the UN’s humanitarian “Operation Lifeline Sudan” (OLS), and the granting of humanitarian access in line with OLS protocols. Mr. Oshima also informed SPLM officials of the talks on access issues he had yesterday in Khartoum with senior officials from the Sudanese Government. The Emergency Coordinator welcomed the release by the SPLM yesterday of a detained staff member of the non-governmental organization Oxfam. He reminded the group of the need to respect the safety of humanitarian workers and the principles of the OLS protocols. Mr. Oshima also reiterated to SPLM officials Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call for the cessation of hostilities, a return to negotiations, and an end to the war for the sake of the people of Sudan. read more