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Only a few degrees of increased temperature separate us from dangerous climate change. The consequences of this will be devastating, especially in poor countries where poverty will increase and development will go into reverse. Global challenges like poverty and climate change can be seen as great dividers – exposing the differences between people who can afford to cope and people who cannot. But equally, they can bring distant communities together, united against a common threat. Although it is the world’s poorest countries that face the greatest challenge, we live in an increasingly globalised world; tackling poverty and climate change is a priority for us all.
Climate change poses a universal threat to development and people’s livelihoods, all over the world, and the new booklet from DFID, Degrees of separation, shows just how close the links are between climate change and poverty.
A new edition of Environment & Poverty Times has been released at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in Yokohama, Japan.
The paper features a collection of short articles, maps, graphics and other illustrations that focuses on the complex links between environment and poverty reduction. It describes how natural resources can contribute to economic growth that also benefits the poor. It shows how the right mixture of entrepreneurship, investments and enabling policies at the national and international levels can create economic opportunities for people to move beyond subsistence levels.
In Africa, local communities had well-developed traditional indigenous knowledge systems for environmental management and coping strategies, making them more resilient to environmental change. This knowledge had, and still has, a high degree of acceptability amongst the majority of populations in which it has been preserved. These communities can easily identify with this knowledge and it facilitates their understanding of certain modern scientific concepts for environmental management including disaster prevention, preparedness, response and mitigation.
According to a statement by the relief organisation Tearfund, “Ninety-eight percent of those killed and affected by natural disasters come from developing countries, underlining the link between poverty and vulnerability to disaster.”
A country’s level of development has a direct impact on the damage natural hazards inflict on populations. Less-developed countries suffer most, as they are more frequently hit and more severely affected. Their weak infrastructure and limited capacity for prevention makes them more vulnerable than wealthy, industrialized nations.
There is general agreement among government and many donors that improved aquaculture and aquatic resources management can make a significant and direct impact on poverty reduction and hunger eradication in Vietnam and will depend on the sharing of effective and sustainable systems for aquaculture and aquatic resources management.
The key policy issue is to better support poor and vulnerable groups who depend on aquatic resources through the use of the livelihoods perspective.
"Empowering local communities particularly vulnerable groups and providing them with skills necessary to be conscious, prepared, and ultimately, become flexible to all types of threats is building disaster resilient community," said Maila E. Quiring, Disaster Risk Reduction Officer of Coastal Community Resources (Coastal CORE) and Livelihood Development, Inc., in an interview conducted here, recently.
According to Quiring, their implementation of the Building Disaster Resilient Community (BDRC) Project to some identified areas in the province is basically an attempt to intervene and contribute in increasing households and community capacities to prepare, respond and manage effects and risks of various hazards through disaster management planning, sustainable livelihoods development, environmental management and improvement of health and well-being.
Nepthalie Betito exchanged a lucrative income as businessman for a smaller but steady income as a farmer practicing organic agriculture and a "rainwater harvester." He left business to till a comparatively very small piece of land, about 1500 square meters only, planted with various types of vegetables. Nepthalie, called "Toto" by friends, was not discouraged by the small size of land but was more concerned that he could make it productive and earn sufficiently.
Toto's town of Oton is a 2nd class municipality with 42.13 percent classified as agricultural land, depending mostly on rain to be able to produce. He knew he could not be produce more if he does not have enough supply of water the year round, so using indigenous knowledge and experience, he saved on rainwater for irrigation of his vegetable garden.
Climate change gets attention across the world. IPCC findings call for radical limits to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations responsible for human-induced climate change. Achieving an international agreement, particularly under the UNFCCC, on emissions targets, burden sharing, trading mechanisms and technological and financial assistance remains a high priority concern for the ‘mitigation’ of climate change. Simultaneously, there is a growing acknowledgement of the need to enable human and natural systems to adjust to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects, a process known as ‘adaptation’. Adaptation is now a central strand of climate policy, thanks to the increasing engagement of the development community, particularly through emphasising the differentiated nature of impacts across the world and within societies. Adaptation is framed as an equity and rights issue.
The central message of this IDS Bulletin is that adaptation will be ineffective and inequitable if it fails to learn from and build upon an understanding of the multi-dimensional and differentiated nature of poverty and vulnerability.
UN demographers projected in 2002 that the population of the Philippines in 2008 would reach between 75 and 85 million. But the population has already overshot the high projection and now stands at 89 million, up from 60 million in 1990. And the country's forests, as well as its people, are paying the price in terms of urban overcrowding and rural deforestation.
Most of the country's forests were situated in the uplands, which make up more than 60 per cent of the country's total land area. "The uplands are fragile areas, and when they get overloaded with population, they just can't take it," says Jeff Palmer, former director of the Davao-based Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC).
Between 1990 and 2005, the Philippines lost one-third of its forest cover. Although the current deforestation rate is around 2 per cent per year, a 20 per cent drop from the rate of the 1990s, deforestation continues.
Conventional methods of reforestation in Africa have often failed. Even community-based projects with individual or community nurseries struggle to keep up the momentum once project funding ends. The obstacles working against reforestation are enormous. But a new method of reforestation called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) could change this situation.
It has already done so in the Republic of Niger, one of the world’s poorest nations, where more than 3 million hectares have been re-vegetated using this method. Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration involves selecting and pruning stems regenerating from stumps of previously felled, but still living trees. Sustainability is a key feature of the programme which requires very little investment by either government or NGOs to keep it going. The story in Niger can offer valuable insights and lessons for other nations.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. It is a challenge that affects every person on the planet, but worst affected of all will be people living in the world's poorest countries.
A new booklet from DFID shows just how close the links are between climate change and poverty. "Degrees of separation" explains how DFID and others are working to ensure that development becomes a big part of the solution to these major global problems. It also highlights the role that individuals can play in making a difference.
Environmental protection or conservation efforts often face challenges related to resource use conflicts and widespread poverty, and it will only be truly sustainable if it leads to clear benefits to local stakeholders. To help ensure sustainability, a growing new modality aims to have conservation work pay for itself.Moreover, if properly designed, it can contribute to poverty alleviation by providing economic benefits to poor, natural resources-dependent communities.
The global charity Floresta, that works to end poverty by halting deforestation, has named Burundi the nation most impacted by environmental degradation as judged by its dwindling forests, severely poor soil, fuel consumption from firewood and people living on less than $1 per day.
"For more than two decades, we have watched the poor struggle to stay afloat while their forests were cut down for fuel and income with nothing being done to improve the land for farming and to protect hillsides from erosion. The vicious cycle of poverty caused by deforestation is growing exponentially so never has our mission been so critical," said Scott Sabin, executive director of Floresta.
Viet Nam is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. The government's impressive achievements in pulling millions of people out of poverty are seriously jeopardised by the likely increase in extreme weather events such as severe rainfall and drought, and by slow climate changes like sea level rises and warming temperatures. Poor men and women are particularly at risk. A team of Oxfam researchers travelled to the two provinces of Ben Tre and Quang Tri in May 2008 to take a snapshot of how poor families are experiencing the changing climate, and how they might deal with this in the future.
With some 12 million hectares of land lost every year to degradation and other environmental causes, a United Nations gathering kicks off today in Istanbul, Turkey, to tackle a problem which risks being forgotten due to the current global financial crisis.
Nearly half the African continent – where 60 per cent of the population depends on agriculture – is affected by land degradation, with sub-Saharan Africa facing threats to its food production capacity.
This report highlights the many linkages between biodiversity and human health. To enhance these linkages requires that we consider biodiversity and human health as different aspects of the same issue: that people are an integral part of Nature and must learn to live in balance with its other species and within its ecosystems.
This guidance note examines the conditions which determine whether an environmental hazard is responsible for a substantial amount of disease, and whether feasible measures are available to prevent it. It considers three problems which account for nearly three quarters of the environmental burden of disease: water, sanitation and hygiene, indoor air pollution, and injuries.
Assuming that fisheries can be managed in such a way as to generate their implicit wealth (resource rents), this paper discusses what might be done with such rents. Decisions on such usage must in practice emerge from the political process. It is not the intention of this paper to suggest that there is a right set of decisions that must be made, still less to tell countries what to do, but rather to raise issues to take into consideration.
This document looks at the way in which fiscal reform may allow the fishery sector to contribute to poverty reduction. It has no pretense of dealing with the issue of poverty reduction per se. Poverty is clearly a multifaceted issue and no single economic sector can be expected to deal with it alone. It is a problem which requires that a broad policy agenda be developed.
Severe water scarcity presents the single biggest threat to future food production. Even now many freshwater sources-underground aquifers and rivers--are stressed beyond their limits. As much as 8 percent of food crops grows on farms that use groundwater faster than the aquifers are replenished, and many large rivers are so heavily diverted that they don't reach the sea for much of the year. As the number of urban dwellers climbs to five billion by 2025, farmers will have to compete even more aggressively with cities and industry for shrinking resources.
Despite these challenges, agricultural specialists are counting on irrigated land to produce most of the additional food that will be needed worldwide. Better management of soil and water, along with creative cropping patterns, can boost production from cropland that is watered only by rainfall, but the heaviest burden will fall on irrigated land. To fulfill its potential, irrigated agriculture requires a thorough redesign organized around two primary goals: cut water demands of mainstream agriculture and bring low-cost irrigation to poor farmers.
In Can Money Grow on Trees?, Panorama reporter Ben Anderson travels to Brazil and Guyana to examine a new plan to save the rainforest by making it worth more standing than chopped down.
The idea is to take the principles of the market and apply them to the standing trees; calculating an exact value for the services which the rainforest provides.
These ecosystem services, as they are known, influence weather systems on a vast scale, produce rainfall and capture CO2 from the atmosphere, reducing global warming.
Panorama travels to a research station in the heart of the rainforest to meet a group of Brazilian scientists who are measuring the carbon and vapour levels in the forest.
African health and environment ministers met in Libreville, Gabon, August 26-29 to confront growing environmental threats to human health and well-being. The Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa was organized by the World Health Organization, the W-H-O, and the United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP. The government of Gabon hosted the four-day meeting. The participants included health ministers, environment ministers, high-level experts, academics, policymakers and representatives from non-governmental organizations.
According to the W-H-O, in 2002 alone, unsafe water, pollution, poor sanitation, inadequate waste disposal, insufficient disease-carrying organism control and exposure to chemicals and other environmental health risk factors claimed some 2,400,000 lives in Africa.
Aquaculture is often viewed narrowly as intensive culture of salmon and shrimp to provide high value products for luxury markets and is often associated with environmental degradation. The promotion of aquaculture for rural development has had a poor record in many developing countries, especially in Africa.
This paper shows that aquaculture does contribute to the livelihoods of the poor, particularly in areas of Asia where it is traditional practice, although a number of constraints prevent its expansion. Recent adoption of new technology suggests that, with adequate support, aquaculture could also contribute significantly to rural development in countries where it is neither a traditional nor widespread practice.
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Desertification occurs in drylands,which span a third of the earth’s land surface in over 110 countries. It influences the lives of about 500 000 people -- the so-called environmental refugees -- including many of the world ’s poorest and most marginalized populations. Each year 12 million hectares are lost to deserts. That is enough land to grow 20 million tonnes of grain.
Land degradation,in turn,threatens the livelihoods of a billion of earth ’s inhabitants. Degradation caused by overcultivation, overgrazing, deforestation and inefficient irrigation affects an estimated 20%of the world ’s drylands, an area as large as China.
Combating desertification,and land degradation more generally, is a war that can be lost, but must be won. Desertification is often the result of human activity and can therefore be prevented or controlled by human effort. Because of its magnitude, desertification is a global issue, and as such can only be addressed through a global partnership. This brochure is about the formation of such a partnership between the Global Environment Facility (GEF)and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
There are many ways to improve the environmental performance of an organization. One option is to work in partnership with other stakeholders. Often, this requires more time and greater initial investment than independent activities, but the solutions achieved are often more sustainable. This article highlights the "Cows to Kilowatts" initiative in Nigeria, a partnership project to reduce the water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions of a slaughterhouse. With the help of innovative technology from Thailand, the project turns abattoir waste into household gas and organic fertiliser, providing local communities with a clean and cheap source of household fuel.
With rising concerns over energy security and the environment, governments have been aggressively encouraging biofuel production. Current biofuel technologies use agricultural feedstocks such as grains and sugar for ethanol and rapeseed and palm oil for biodiesel. Brazil mandates biofuel consumption and uses about half its sugar cane to produce ethanol. The United States has tax incentives, subsidies, and consumption mandates for biofuel production. At the current pace of investment, the US is planned to produce 15 billion gallons of biofuel by 2010. This means that between one-quarter and one-half of the current US maize crop will be used as feedstock. Germany, France, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and many other developed and developing countries also have their own plans to expand the production of ethanol and biodiesel.
Women and men interact with the physical environment in different ways and different cultures define roles for women that tend to include activities closely related to the environment and natural resources. But even though women’s dependence on natural resources in developing countries has been recognized internationally, women’s interests and participation in decision making and natural resource management at all levels are still not equal with men’s. This compromises the abilities of local communities, nations, and the international community to achieve sustainable development. This linkage paper has been developed to help CIDA employees integrate environment and natural resource considerations into programming that has a primary focus on Gender Equality.
The Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth “Green Growth” approach is a new policy format which helps countries to achieve tangible progress towards sustainable development and poverty reduction. The approach aims to harmonize economic growth and sustainable use of environmental resources by “fundamentally changing the way in which societies produce and consume,” according to the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
Green growth is growth in GDP that maintains or restores environmental quality and ecological integrity, and for meeting the needs of all people with the lowest possible environmental impact. It also means an evolution towards a sustainable economy in which the first principle is that ecosystem goods and services, and therefore their sustainable use, are critical to long-term economic and social viability.
An innovative United Nations atlas of Kenya using satellite images to pinpoint shrinking tea-growing areas, disappearing lakes, rising loss of tree cover and increased mosquito breeding grounds has highlighted the East African country’s need to invest in “green” development to escape from poverty.
The new 168-page publication, released today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), shows how environmental degradation is thwarting the Kenya’s current and future development opportunities.
This case study of Sustainable Energy for Environment and Development highlights the partnership experience between local government structures, an NGO called ‘Sustainable Energy Africa’ (SEA), and other non-governmental organisations. It is an example of a development partnership aimed at enhancing the functioning of local governments. The programme is targeted at municipalities and contributes to policies and practices on sustainable development and efficient energy use at various levels. It is hoped that the lessons presented in this case study will assist in developing new partnerships between government and NGOs, as well as strengthening existing ones.