Born and raised in India, Reenal has lived in Germany, China and Denmark, where she resides today. This experience has added a multicultural facet to both her professional and social understanding, offering an insightful approach to different cultural perspectives within her practice.
As an urban planner and designer by education and profession, Reenal was able to work on projects closely related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.
Natural disasters displace three times as many people as conflicts
In 2018, natural disasters including drought, cyclones and floods forced almost 2.6 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa to flee their homes. This triggers competition over depleted natural resources which can spark conflict between communities or compound pre-existing vulnerabilities.
In West and Central Africa, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is at the heart of the climate action for building resilience to climate change and peace promotion.
Myanmar is highly susceptible to natural disasters and ranks second out of 187 countries in the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index. Prolonged conflict fuelled by ethnic tensions has exacerbated Myanmar’s vulnerability to natural disasters, so much so that the Government of Myanmar has placed emergency response and disaster preparedness at the top of its priority list.
The day the cyclone hit, we accommodated five neighbour families who sought refuge after the cyclone winds destroyed their houses. A total of 33 people sat in our small sitting room and I had to climb up the roof to place stone blocks to prevent the roof of being swept away.
Working with UNICEF as a UN volunteer over the past year, my assignment included building awareness among staff on climate change, its impact and how we can mitigate its effects. I also advocate for sustainable practices in the way people consume energy and resources and manage waste both at work and in their personal lives. These efforts are in line with one of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 13: to improve education, awareness-raising, human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.
Imagine living close to a river and not knowing if and when the rivers will rise above normal levels. Imagine a large wave of rain flooding your land, destroying your home while washing away your dear belongings. This was the reality of many Laotians during the rainy season in 2018.
Air pollutants (caused by two coal-fired power plants, the high intensity of road transport, and household burning of wood and coal), along with poor waste management, abuse of the natural resources and widespread use of fertile land for construction, are seriously threatening the health of Kosovars - children and elderly in particular.
“Healthier Kosovo”, a joint project of UNDP, UNV and WHO, supported by the government of Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, responds to this serious, yet often neglected problem.