Sustainable energy—energy that is accessible, cleaner and more efficient—powers opportunity. It grows economies. It lights up homes, schools and hospitals. It empowers women and local communities. And it paves a path out of poverty to greater prosperity for all.
The valuing of ecosystem services such as food, fuel and clean water is currently high on the international agenda – it was highlighted at the World Bank’s recent Annual Meeting, and it is a major priority for the forthcoming Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
So it is timely that a project supported by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme (ESPA) has produced the world’s first environmental health index to be based on long term historical data. This week’s announcement raises hopes the work could be used to help safeguard the future of rural livelihoods across the developing world.
Poor people living in slums are at particularly high risk from the impacts of climate change and natural hazards. They live on the most vulnerable lands within cities, typically areas that are deemed undesirable by others and are thus affordable. Residents are exposed to the impacts of landslides, sea-level rise, flooding, and other hazards. Exposure to risk is exacerbated by overcrowded living conditions, lack of adequate infrastructure and services, unsafe housing, inadequate nutrition, and poor health. These conditions can turn a natural hazard or change in climate into a disaster, and result in the loss of basic services, damage or destruction to homes, loss of livelihoods, malnutrition, disease, disability, and loss of life.
Forests are a nutritional bounty - virtual natural supermarkets for 1 billion of the world's poorest people. And as the world's population is expected to balloon to 9 billion people by 2050, it is imperative that we figure out how to feed the global population while maintaining the world's very important forest cover. We hope you enjoy this new multimedia feature that talks about some of the interesting ways that people around the world are promoting both forest conservation and food security
At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet.
Rapid urbanization and climate change are reshaping and exacerbating disaster risk. Together, they have added urgency to the task of building resilience in communities and countries around the world. High-profile representatives of developing and donor countries join senior officials from development and humanitarian organizations discuss how to prepare for a changing world.
Watch the webcast: http://gfdrr.org/gfdrr/node/1182
Tackling over-consumption, not over-population will be key to ensuring sustainable development, according to a new report from Christian Aid.
The paper warns that poor people – often the main source of population growth – should not be blamed for the global environmental crisis in the face of overconsumption of the world’s middle classes.
Mangroves, it must be said, do not get their dues. The tangled, swampy growths of trees and plants that line humid coastlines support thousands of communities worldwide. For the Indian and Bangladeshi residents of the Sundarbans, they provide food, building materials and medicine, while acting as a giant coastal defence from tropical storms for the Bimini Islands off the coast of Florida. And, while they amount to less than 0.1 per cent of the Earth’s total land surface area, they also act as giant carbon sinks, sending one tenth of all land-derived organic carbon into the ocean.
For the last 40 years, Earth Day has been celebrated around the world to call attention to some of our most pressing environmental and social problems, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and dwindling natural resources. This year, the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet (www.NourishingthePlanet.org) highlights 15 agricultural innovations that are already working on the ground to address some of those problems.
Governments from more than 90 countries have agreed to establish an independent panel of scientists to assess the very latest research on the state of the planet's fragile ecosystems. The decision, which will create a body akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was made in Panama City this weekend, after years of negotiations.