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The sales are on and after a day's successful shopping spree you return home with bags full of bargains. Now what happens to the plastic bags and wrappers thoughtlessly tossed aside? Out in the ocean floating islands of plastic waste reach hundreds of miles, and plastic bags play heavily among them… Plastics are even reaching people's lungs and dinner tables, with micro-plastics in the air, water and food having an unknown impact on their health and playing havoc with marine life. Tackling the plastics problem is a must.
Years of violent fighting in Syria left thousands of schools destroyed, damaged or used as shelters for families who lost their homes. 11-year-old Nour struggled to follow lessons in a dark classroom up until the EU and UNICEF stepped in providing solar panels to generate electricity, and kindling her dream to become an architect. “I want to rebuild our destroyed house, but with a better design,” she says cheerfully in her now lit up classroom. In their first ever meeting, EU High Representative Mogherini and newly elected UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta H. Fore, discussed further cooperation between the EU and UNICEF in providing assistance and hope to more children like Nour, trapped by conflict and poverty.
How many of us take water for granted? If we turn on the tap and no water comes out, we panic, even if there is simply no hot water but only cold water, we panic… Water is an essential building block of life. Access to water, in particular safe drinking water, is a fundamental right, yet, it is still a challenge in many parts of the world.
During her meeting with Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), High Representative Federica Mogherini announced €82 million in funding for UNRWA. The money was made available in a sped-up procedure and will provide access to education for 500,000 children, primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients and assistance to over 250,000 vulnerable refugees. "Preserving UNRWA is not just a matter of humanity. It is also our strategic interest. The situation in the Middle East is extremely volatile and we can't afford even greater destabilisation", High Representative Mogherini said in her speech at the Ministerial Conference on UNRWA.