The Philippine president urged an annual summit of Asia-Pacific leaders Thursday to push forward on trade liberalization, address climate change and help lift up the world's poor.
In a statement before leaving for Australia, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said that while the Philippines and other developing countries may not be ready to compete head-to-head with developed nations, "We cannot afford to be afraid of globalization."
The solution to the problems posed by climate change must be linked to sustainable development so that the world’s least affluent countries can conquer poverty, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the United Nations General Assembly today.
Speaking at the annual high-level debate at UN Headquarters in New York, the President said it was important to not lose sight of the fight against poverty when trying to combat climate change.
Introducing fish farming to farmers in Malawi has improved the income and health of rural communities devastated by HIV/AIDS, announced the WorldFish Center in Malawi this week (20 August).
Fish is traditionally a large part of the Malawian diet, but fish populations and consumption have declined due to overfishing.
Poverty and corruption are linked to higher incidence of fire in tropical forest reserves, reports a new study published in the journal Ecological Applications. Poor, corrupt countries -- like Cambodia, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Sierra Leone -- have the least effective parks when measured in terms of the incidence of fire relative to surrounding "buffer" areas. The findings have significant implications for rainforest conservation efforts.
The study, led by Dr. S. Joseph Wright of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, calculated the "fire detection density", or the number of detected fires per square kilometer per year, inside 823 tropical forest reserves and contiguous buffer areas using data from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) between 2002 and 2004. The ratio was then used to "examine national-level variation in reserve effectiveness for 37 tropical countries that differ widely in extant forest capital, economic development, and human population density."
The World Bank is preparing to announce a new $250 million fund aimed at using carbon finance to reduce emissions from deforestation. According to recent news reports, world leaders have encouraged the Bank to move forward with plans to create a Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), which would leverage private investor money and donor contributions to help countries develop strategies for avoiding forest degradation and secure payment for forest-related emissions reduction, through the creation of tradable carbon credits.
Out-of-date policies are undermining unprecedented opportunities for recent aid commitments to improve the environment and combat poverty, according to scientists at a new global research centre launched today. The warning comes from the STEPS Centre, whose urgently needed new approach to development aims to respond to 21st century conditions.
The rights of poor fishermen to harvest and manage local fish stocks need to be strengthened in order to fight poverty and reduce overexploitation of threatened coastal and inland fisheries, FAO said today.
"While fishing's role in helping people in the world's poorest communities feed themselves and stave off destitution cannot be understated, our studies reveal that despite the food and income that fishing provides many fisherfolk still live in poverty, while social ills and health problems are disturbingly prevalent in their
communities," said Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General of FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.
Food and water shortages are likely to increase in Asia unless action is taken to curb the rise in greenhouse gases according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Increasing temperatures and extreme weather patterns are already taking their toll on crop yields which are declining in many parts of the Continent.
Future climate change is expected to put close to 50 million extra people at risk of hunger by 2020 rising to an additional 132 million and 266 million by 2050 and 2080 respectively, says the report of IPCC Working Group II.
As the Himalayan glaciers melt due to climate change, China is one of the countries most vulnerable to the drying up of its water supply.
Without access to clean and adequate supplies of fresh water, communities will be unable to improve agriculture-based livelihoods or improve health conditions.
Yet increasing demands by industrial and urban users and increasing levels of pollution are creating serious shortages of clean and adequate water supplies for countries around the world.
Early this month, the Chinese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a joint carbon finance project that would use carbon trades in China’s less-developed regions to help reach the UN Millennium Development Goals, including poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. The three-year, US$1.7 million project will set up Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) technical service centers in 12 selected provinces, including Hubei, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Qinghai, and Xinjiang. The goal is to channel international “green” investment into local sustainable development, especially renewable energy use.
It isn't scarcity, but inequality, that deprives people of their right to a glass of clean water, according to the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) report for 2006. The report documented many controversial realities related to the issue of clean water, its sources, distribution, scarcity and impact on livelihoods and human development at large. The most controversial of all is the fact that there is enough water for everyone, but the problem is that some countries get more than their needs.
Issued on 15 January under the title Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis, the report underlines the very simple but ominous observation that too many people do not have access to enough water under the right conditions. "Across much of the developing world, unclean water is an immeasurably greater threat to human life and security than violent conflict," noted James Rawely, the UNDP's resident representative in Cairo. Rawely added that unlike wars and natural disasters, lack of clean water does not make media headlines.
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has accused developed countries of failing to do enough to fight against global warming.
In a speech in Rio de Janeiro, President Lula said it was time for wealthy countries to do more to reduce gas emissions.
He called on them to stop preaching on what to do with the Amazon rainforest.
President Lula said developed nations applied a double standard in their approach to global warming.
A promising form of renewable energy could create major opportunities for developing nations to alleviate poverty and help to mitigate climate change, but could equally cause more problems than it solves, warns a report published 26 January.
The report, by the International Institute for Environment and Development, maps obstacles on the road to sustainable development of biofuels — liquid fuels produced from oily or starchy 'energy crops' such as sugarcane, corn, soybeans oil palms and jatropha trees.
In most cities in the developing world, urbanization has outpaced sanitation, with myriad consequences for human and environmental health. At the conference in Stockholm (“Where the Water World Meets”), IDRC and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) organized a workshop on pollution management in urban watersheds in developing countries — with a creative twist. Panelists were asked to answer questions posed by farmers in Africa and Asia, who had been videotaped in the weeks running up to the meeting.
Luong Van Inh is among a neglected group of Asians threatened by an environmental hazard rarely considered: indoor air pollution. Caused by burning wood, coal or other cheap fuels in kitchens, it kills about 1.5 million people worldwide each year.
Inh's wheezing gasps and the gritty soot covering his tiny kitchen are testament to the damage caused from decades of cooking over a wood fire with no chimney to draw out the billowing smoke. He has lived in the stilt house in the impoverished northern mountain town of Dien Bien Phu since birth.
"I have had asthma since I was young, but the problem has been getting worse," said Inh, 70, who shuns cigarettes but has hovered over the kitchen stove preparing meals for his family since his wife died 25 years ago. "When it rains and it's humid, I find it hard to breathe if I cook."
Up to 3 billion people around the world rely on solid fuels such as wood, coal, crop waste or animal dung for indoor cooking and heating. The resulting smoke ranks as the fourth-biggest health risk in the poorest countries, yet it is typically overlooked.
If global development priorities are not reassessed to account for massive urban poverty, well over half of the 1.1 billion people projected to join the world’s population between now and 2030 may live in under-serviced slums, according to State of the World 2007: Our Urban Future, released today by the Worldwatch Institute. Additionally, while cities cover only 0.4 percent of the Earth’s surface, they generate the bulk of the world’s carbon emissions, making cities key to alleviating the climate crisis, notes the report.
Indigenous communities use the forest with restraint because it provides for their basic needs -- food, shelter, water, medicine, fuel and clothing. The Bambuti people of the Congo refer to the forest as mother or father, and hold it sacred: a deity to ask for help and to thank. The Yanomami of Venezuela and Brazil believe that the natural and spiritual worlds are united: the fates of all people and the environment are inexorably linked. So when people destroy the environment, humanity slowly commits suicide.
In Borneo, the Penan harvests the sago palm, a fast-growing tree whose pithy trunk is loaded with starch used to make flour. Only the largest trunks are taken, the smaller shoots carefully preserved for future harvests. They call this molong, meaning never taking more than necessary. When the Haida people of Canada fell a red cedar, the bark is made into a textile for clothing, ropes and sails, and the wood is used to make dugout canoes, ceremonial masks and boxes, and to build communal longhouses. Smaller branches are used for smoking salmon. Passing on information is the key to a successful forest lifestyle.
A lack of access to clean water kills nearly two million children a year and stunts prospects for economic growth in the world's poorest countries, a new United Nations report said. More than 2.6 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation and dirty water claims more lives than AIDS or conflicts, according to the UN's annual Human Development Report, released in South Africa.
Avoided deforestation will be a hot point of discussion at next week's climate meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Already a coalition of 15 rainforest nations have proposed a plan whereby industrialized nations would pay them to protect their forests to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, last month Brazil -- which has the world's largest extent of tropical rainforests and the world's highest rate of forest loss -- said it will promote a similar initiative at the talks. At stake: potentially billions of dollars for developing countries and the future
of the world's climate.
The watershed development program of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and consortium of partners is reaching out to the world as a model of integrated genetic and natural resource management (IGNRM). After India, China, Vietnam and Thailand, ICRISAT's watershed development model has recently reached East Africa.
According to Dr. William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, the Institute's watershed model has become popular since it brings together as a package for rural development the best of expertise available with ICRISAT and all the consortium partners. "While using the micro watershed as a geographical unit for soil and water conservation and management, the impact is strengthened with improved agronomical practices and diversified income generation activities," adds Dr. Dar.
An unprecedented international symposium called "Defying Nature's End: The African Context," will examine how conserving the continent's unmatched biodiversity can help alleviate poverty, fight disease and improve the quality of life for people. The symposium from June 20-24 in Madagascar's capital will be attended by government leaders, international organizations, conservation groups and local communities. Speakers will include Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana; Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the U.N. Millennium Project and special advisor to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and environmental leaders from around the world, particularly Africa.
Major themes for the symposium organized by Conservation International include the status and importance of African biodiversity; assessing and valuing the ecosystem services it provides; using debt relief to properly manage natural capital and reduce poverty; and how biodiversity conservation can help Africa reach the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000 to achieve significant progress in alleviating poverty worldwide by 2015.
Only days ahead of the make-or-break World Trade Organization meeting in Hong Kong, where a final push will be made to reach an agreement to liberalize agricultural trade, the FAO today warned that the benefits of trade reform may not reach the poor unless urgent complementary policies and investments are made.
The State of Food and Agriculture 2005 (SOFA 2005) examines agricultural trade and poverty, seeking to answer the question: Can trade work for the poor?
According to SOFA 2005, the answer is yes, but trade liberalization alone is not enough. Policies and investments must be put in place to allow the poor to benefit from trade opportunities and to protect the vulnerable against trade-related shocks. “Agricultural trade and further trade liberalization can unlock the potential of the agriculture sector to promote pro-poor growth, but these benefits are not guaranteed.”
Nature conservation programmes will never be successful if poverty still plagues the country, participants of a national seminar on biodiversity and poverty alleviation said yesterday.
Better social awareness in protecting biodiversity along with poverty alleviation should be promoted, Wang Dehui, vice-director of the Department of Nature under the State Environmental Protection Administration, said at the seminar.
Most of the country's nature reserves are located in poor and remote areas where human beings always come into conflict with wildlife for survival, Wang said.
The conflict of seeking living space between people and wild birds in Weining's Caohai Nature Reserve, for example, has led to shrinking of biodiversity and environmental deterioration in past decades, said Wu Daoquan, vice-director of Weining County, in western Guizhou.
With some 60 per cent of the planet's ecosystem currently being degraded by human activities, the global community must take speedy action or else face a future of 6 billion people “scratching around trying to survive,” the head of the United Nations environmental agency said today.
“In the end we are all facing poverty if we fail to address environmental decline, if we fail to reinvest in nature’s capital,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer told the opening session of a three-day brainstorming seminar at the London School of Economics on how to mainstream environment in pro-poor development strategies.
A recent report commissioned by DFID's Fisheries Management Science Programme reveals that African fisheries and fishing communities are amongst the most vulnerable in the world to climate change. Not only are most of these countries heavily reliant on fisheries as contributions to national economies, food security and employment (over 90% of fish in Africa comes from capture fisheries), but also climate change is predicted to be particularly significant in this region.
Poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water is threatening to undermine U.N. efforts to fight poverty, hunger and disease in Africa, ministers and experts said.
While international aid is helping to bring food and medicine to many African nations, the issue of poor sanitation -- which affects an estimated two-thirds of the continent -- has been largely neglected and left to local villages and towns, according to the water ministers of Uganda, Ethiopia and Lesotho.
In a new report, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says energy poverty is seriously impeding socio-economic development in the world's poorest countries. Noting that in the developing countries some 1.6 billion people still lack access to electricity and about 2.4 billion continue to rely on traditional biomass like fuelwood for cooking and heating, Annan calls for intensified efforts to promote renewable energy sources for the poor.
This is World Water Week. And in Stockholm, ministers from around the world are meeting to discuss water, sanitation and hygiene. African ministers at the forum are calling for greater attention and resources to be paid to the issues as part of efforts to end poverty.
Among those attending is Mamphono Khaketla, who is Lesotho’s minister of natural resources. From Stockholm, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about why sanitation and hygiene are needed to end poverty.
Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of targets aimed at halving global poverty by 2015, could come into conflict with parallel efforts to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, according to a new report from some of world's leading environmental scientists and policymakers.
The report Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: A biodiversity synthesis, which was launched 19 May, was produced by the biodiversity working group of the five-year-long Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
It warns that the loss of the world's biodiversity is a major threat to humankind, and says that unless current patterns are checked, key 'ecological services' — such as providing medicines and purifying water — could be lost.