The World Bank has published a report entitled, "Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis," that presents a global view of disaster risks associated with some major natural hazards -- drought, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. The report identifies high-risk geographic regions so that development efforts can be better informed and designed to reduce disaster-related losses in the future.
The report was produced by researchers from Columbia University, the World Bank, the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute and other partners. It indicates that 3.4 billion people, more than half the world's population, live in areas where at least one hazard could significantly impact them.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned Monday that global warming is spurring the melting rate of glaciers in the Himalayan region, and will cause water shortage for people in China, India and Nepal.
The WWF said in a new report that the glaciers are now retreating at an average rate of 10 to 15 meters per year.
Speaking before students, faculty and guests in the York Distinguished Lecturer Series at the University of Florida on Tuesday, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) reminded his audience of the importance of agriculture for national economies.
Brathwaite, recognized for his administrative, technical and institutional leadership in international agricultural development, has taken on the role of modernizing IICA to return it to its original place of strength in the agricultural community.
“We are convinced that agriculture can be a key instrument in reducing rural and urban poverty and ensuring food security and sustainable development. Indeed, the three challenges for agriculture of the future are poverty alleviation, sustainable management of the environment and competitiveness in an era of free trade,” he said.
Global warming will have a detrimental effect on human and economic development in Africa according to a new paper by Dr. Anthony Nyong, presented at the Scientific Symposium on Stabilisation of Greenhouse Gases.
The impacts of global warming on economic development in Africa, particularly among the poorest people, will be highlighted in the paper.
Acts of terrorism like the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. are a worst-case symptom of global insecurity brought about by the festering interplay among poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation—the true "axis of evil," according to the Worldwatch Institute in its State of the World 2005 report.
The Washington, D.C.-based research group released its annual report Wednesday. It concludes that until these conditions—and compounding factors such as the spread of small arms—are fiercely fought, political instability, warfare, and extremism will continue to thrive.
This article contains a listing of ProVention Consortium's compiled best practices in increasing the safety of vulnerable communities and reducing the impact of disasters in developing countries.
Included in the list are, among others:
- Successful disaster prevention in Latin America: the Argentina Flood Rehabilitation Project and the Rio Flood Reconstruction and Prevention Project
- Coastal environmental preservation in Vietnam
- Case Study on Privatization in Mozambique
The United Nations report on the state of the planet paints a grim picture (in the main) of the Earth's future.
The Global Environment Outlook-3 (Geo-3), the work of more than 1,000 authors, says the human "footprint" is having an increasingly adverse impact, especially in poor countries.
Community-based initiatives to protect marine resources in Fiji, conserve medicinal plants in India, and support ecotourism in Kenya — what do these programs have in common? They all fulfill the objectives of the Equator Initiative: alleviating poverty while sustaining biodiversity.
The Equator Initiative, launched on 30 January 2002, seeks to promote a worldwide movement to reduce poverty and conserve biodiversity by recognizing local achievements, fostering South-South capacity development, and supporting policy strengthening and knowledge generation. This United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnership program focuses on the region between 23.5 degrees north and south of the Equator as this zone holds the world’s greatest concentrations of both human poverty and biological wealth.
Southern Madagascar's spiny forest is like a fantasy land, the driest, wildest and most startling of the island's unique ecosystems.
Most of the 200,000 plus species of plants and animals found here are found nowhere else on earth and the island has been classified as one of the world's top three "hotspots" for biodiversity. The forest is also home to the white sifaka lemur, who depend on the spiny didierea trees for their habitat, eating the leaves and fruits.
Yet Madagascar is one of the poorest and most environmentally challenged countries in the world. And loss of habitat is a serious problem, especially when combined with damage from the periodic cyclones, droughts and locusts that have hit the island.
An innovative approach to managing water resources could bring social, economic and environmental benefits in developing countries, but as major new research shows, all that glitters is not gold.
The research by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and its partners will be presented (16 August) in Sweden at World Water Week, a gathering of 2,500 water experts from 130 nations.
The UK Department for International Development funded the four-year study, which focused on 'payments for watershed services' - a way of compensating wise use of land and water upstream that bring benefits to water users downstream.
GONAIVES, Haiti — The torrents of water that raged down upon this city, killing more people than in all other hurricanes this year, are testimony to a human-made ecological disaster fed by poverty that has transformed once-verdant hills into a moonscape of bedrock ravaged by ravines.
More than 98 percent of Haiti's forests are gone, leaving no topsoil to hold rains. Even the mango and avocado trees have started to vanish, destroying a vital food source for the poor to make way for another necessity of the impoverished: charcoal for cooking.
"The situation will continue, and other catastrophes are foreseeable," said Jean-Andre Victor, an agronomist and one of Haiti's top ecologists.
Except for the Congo Basin, Africa's frontier forests have largely been destroyed, primarily by loggers and by farmers clearing land for agriculture. In West Africa, nearly 90 percent of the original moist forest is gone, and what remains is heavily fragmented and degraded. Today, West African unspoiled forests are restricted to one patch in Côte d'Ivoire and another along the border between Nigeria and Cameroon.
The forests of Africa cover 520 million hectares and constitute more than 17 per cent of the world's forests. They are largely concentrated in the tropical zones of Western and Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. With more than 109 million hectares of forests, Congo Kinshasa alone has more than 20 per cent of the region's forest cover, while Northern Africa has little more than 9%, principally along the coast of the western Mediterranean countries, according to FAO. This still, however, makes Africa on of the continents with the lowest forest cover rate.
ADB has approved a US$33.1 million loan to promote the generation of clean renewable energy from agricultural biomass wastes in the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The Efficient Utilization of Agricultural Wastes Project will help clean up the environment, promote economic growth, and reduce poverty by encouraging biomass-based systems on farms in the provinces of Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi, and Shanxi.
Biomass technology uses rural waste products such as farm household waste, crop straw and residues and animal droppings. These wastes are presently disposed of inappropriately, causing emission of greenhouse gases, and air, land, and water pollution.
Leaders from the United States, Europe and developing nations have
already agreed that reducing poverty must be a central element of the
plan. But the question of how to do that and to ensure the survival of
the globe's natural resources has left rich and poor nations bitterly
divided. The dispute is likely to dominate the political negotiations
here. In this continent of immense natural beauty and desperate
poverty, the debate could hardly be more relevant.
A villa miseria outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, may have the worst feng shui in the world: it is built in a flood zone over a former lake, a toxic dump, and a cemetery. Then there's the barrio perched precariously on stilts over the excrement-clogged Pasig River in Manila, Philippines, and the bustee in Vijayawada, India, that floods so regularly that residents have door numbers written on pieces of furniture. In slums the world over, squatters trade safety and health for a few square meters of land. They are pioneers of swamps, floodplains, volcano slopes, unstable hillsides, desert fringes, railroad sidings, rubbish mountains, and chemical dumps -- unattractive and dangerous sites that have become poverty's niche in the ecology of the city.
This article was originally published in OrionOnline.
Global warming threatens to reverse human progress, and make unachievable all UN targets to reduce poverty, according to some of the world's leading international and development groups.
In a report published today, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, WWF and 15 other groups say rich governments must immediately address climate change to avoid even "obscene levels" of worldwide poverty.
"Food production, water supplies, public health and people's livelihoods are already being damaged and undermined," the report says. "There is no either/or approach possible. The world must meet its commitments to achieve poverty reduction and also tackle climate change. The two are inextricably linked."
In Kazakhstan, where the once immense Aral Sea is fast shrinking, citizens lack fresh water even as the country becomes relatively rich.
In Aktau, on Kazakhstan’s Caspian shore, tap water is so heavy with chemicals that foreign-built washing machines last just a few months. Understandably, the residents of Aktau who can afford it prefer to buy mineral water from a shop rather than risk the yellow, smelly water in their sinks.
The problem is a national one; Kazakhstan has the worst provision of clean drinking water in the Confederation of Independent States. In rural areas, instances of hepatitis and other water-borne diseases are high. All around the country, almost half the pumps and public taps are turned off permanently because they are worn out or sub-standard.
By virtue of its location in Africa's Great Lakes region, Burundi has abundant water resources for its seven million people. However, most Burundians, especially in rural areas, lack clean drinking water.
While at least 75 percent of Burundi’s 493,000 urban residents have their water delivered by the state-owned utility, Regideso, most Burundians are outside Regideso’s supply grid and get water from lakes, rivers and swamps. The country is far from achieving the United Nations' minimum international standard one tap for every 500 people.
The water crisis is a critical issue for governments and societies worldwide. But poor people face this crisis on a daily basis. The sustainable management of water is crucial to efforts to eliminate poverty. Poor people’s lives are closely linked to their access to water and its multiple uses and functions.
The Department for International Development (DFID) recently published a water strategy paper, Addressing the Water Crisis. This takes as its starting point the connections between lack of access to water and associated natural resources, poverty entrapment and increased risk of disease, and reduced livelihood opportunities at a local level. It also highlights the broader constraints this poses to agricultural and industrial growth.
First Ever Standards Linking Climate Change, Biodiversity and Poverty Opened Up for Global Peer ReviewPosted on: 10 July 2008 - 4:45pm
The first ever set of standards certifying land use projects that reduce global warming while conserving the environment and alleviating poverty have been opened up for global peer review and comment by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA).
This "multiple benefit" approach which incorporates climate, environmental and social issues addresses shortfalls in existing land-based climate strategies. With input from environmental organizations, academic institutions and the private sector, the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards will help companies, conservation organizations, governments and international funding groups to efficiently identify cost-effective carbon emission reduction projects that also have a positive impact on biodiversity and local communities.
Antarctica's ice sheets are melting much faster than they did in the past decade, raising concerns that global warming may be contributing more to sea-level rise than previously thought.
The findings, from a study co-authored by Kansas University researchers, will be published in the Oct. 8 issue of the journal Science.
"It's going to affect a lot of people, because hundreds of millions of people are living within a kilometer of a coastline," said Pannirselvan Kanagaratnam , a research associate professor at KU. "If this keeps going, it can be devastating."
For five years now the heat has been less intense and the rainfall more abundant in a small cocoa farming area in Ghana's Upper Volta region, thanks to villagers bent on affecting climate change.
In this region in Afiaso in the country's south, their efforts have focused on conserving the nearby Kakum National Park.
"We used to cut down many trees for agricultural use, which brought us a lot of hardship including windstorms, decreased rainfall and increased solar intensity," said Nana Opare Ababio III, the traditional chief of a 620-member village.
But with conservation efforts, "the amount of rainfall has dramatically increased in the last five years and heat from the sun has reduced and we now have better yield," he said through an interpreter.
The protection of biodiversity hotspots depends on the involvement of local communities, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
Speaking at the People and Parks Conference on Monday, deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said: "Our success in achieving sustainable protection of these hotspots, species and ecosystems will largely depend on the extent to which we involve local people whose livelihoods depend on these resources."
The People and Parks programme looks at the role protected areas play in local economic growth. The deputy minister commended conservation agencies for their role in implementing programs to empower communities living adjacent to parks.
To date, they have developed policies for resource use, capacity building programmes and co-management models in protected areas that are affected by land claims.
Ms Mabudafhasi highlighted that although much has been done to ensure the conservation of South Africa's protected areas, there where still challenges that exist.
"Despite our successes in the conservation of biodiversity and the expansion of the conservation estate, we are faced with serious challenges. These challenges include the threat to our globally recognised biodiversity hotspots, endemic and endangered species, river ecosystems, wetlands and estuaries," she said.
In fall of 2007 the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its most dire diagnosis of where human-produced greenhouse gas emissions are leading our planet: increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather (heat waves, cyclones, rainfall), severe droughts and flooding, decreased food production, and decreased water supplies throughout the western United States, the Mediterranean, northern Brazil and southern Africa.
A major breakthrough of the conference was its recognition of the important role that protecting standing forests plays in curbing carbon emissions. Because current rates of deforestation contribute 20% of all green-house emissions, decreasing deforestation rates is a powerful and cost-effective mechanism to reducing carbon emissions.
Heavy rain has soaked much of Central America since the beginning of October.
Honduras is one of the worst affected countries, with more than 30 people dead and 40,000 others forced from their homes.
Claudina Reyes, a Christian Aid representative in Honduras, describes the situation.
Deforestation is one of the oldest and continuous way in which man modifies his environment. It is an act of destroying or removing forest vegetation with little or no efforts to replace the harm and it invariably results in ecological imbalance or degradation. Deforestation is caused by overgrazing, expansion in agricultural land, firewood extraction, industrial activities and removal of the green cover by other related human activities.
It is also made worse by two main factors; the natural and manmade factors in today's contemporary world. However, manmade factors exert a high magnitude compared to natural factors. This is largely due to the increase in human population and economic growth occasioned by urbanization, agricultural and infrastructural development.
Borno state which is located in the desert region of the north-eastern part of Nigeria, borders around the Sahel savannah vegetation. The state is believed to be naturally affected by deforestation because it experiences less rainfall, high temperature and sparsely covered by vegetation due to its geographical location.
Ecotourism, green certification and the common good -- what do these terms mean? Since the Bali Conference on Climate Change last December, these and many similar concepts have been bandied about.
Ecotourism is defined as: "Responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people". Often a facility wears the tag "ecotourism", but closer examination reveals it is just a hotel in a "natural area".