The United Nations Rio+20 Conference called last year for urgent action to put the world on a more equitable and sustainable development path. Countries agreed that systems and behaviors that worsen poverty and inequalities, exclude women and marginalize others, are pushing our planet to its limits and must change.
Achieving sustainable energy yields benefits beyond the environment. It enables children to study at night, allows health clinics to store needed vaccines, and frees women from backbreaking chore and life-threatening smoke from wood-burning stoves. It creates a platform for better and more productive lives.
In the face of unprecedented deforestation and biodiversity loss, policy makers are increasingly using financial incentives to encourage conservation.
However, a research team led by the National University of Singapore (NUS) revealed that in the long run, conservation incentives may struggle to compete with future agricultural yields.
Their findings were first published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 15 April 2013.
We've been thinking a lot lately about investing in "natural capital" in Asia and the Pacific - one of four key thrusts of ADB’s newly approved Environment Operational Directions for 2013-2020.
Ecosystems and biodiversity are on the decline in Asia and the Pacific. We put out a report last year together with WWF which depicts a stark picture. In the last 40 years, there has been a 67% decline in the health of ecosystems in the region. This is twice the global average!
This is part one of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth. Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against.
As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, CIFOR is organizing with its partners a two-day policy and science conference entitled "Sustainable forest management in Central Africa: Yesterday, today and tomorrow." Bringing together the region's leading policy makers, donors, media, researchers and forest experts, the conference will provide a forum for open discussion of the most critical issues and challenges facing the sustainable management of Central Africa's forests, the biodiversity they embrace and the people who depend on them.
Khadija Mtungakoa, a 38-year-old mother of three, wears a broad smile as she prepares food on her energy-saving stove.
She explains joyfully how it has helped reduce her reliance on the firewood she gathers from the nearby Amani Nature Reserve in Tanzania's Muheza District.
The government established the reserve in 1997 to protect the unique forest ecosystem of the East Usambara Mountains, a range in the Eastern Arc Mountains.
Mtungakoa's stove, made of clay soil and cow dung, stays hot for much longer than a conventional model, which makes it more efficient when simmering and allows her to reheat cooked food. And it uses much less wood.
Natural capital includes, first of all, the resources that we easily recognize and measure such as minerals and energy, forest timber, agricultural land, fisheries and water. It also includes ecosystems producing services that are often ‘invisible’ to most people such as air and water filtration, flood protection, carbon storage, pollination for crops, and habitat for fisheries and wildlife. These values are not readily captured in markets, so we don’t really know how much they contribute to the economy and livelihoods. We often take these services for granted and don’t know what it would cost if we lose them.
The concept of accounting for natural capital has been around for more than 30 years. However, progress in moving toward implementation has been slow.
A major step towards achieving this vision came recently with the adoption by the UN Statistical Commission of the System for Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA). The SEEA provides an internationally agreed method, on par with the current SNA, to account for material natural resources like minerals, timber, and fisheries. The challenge now is to build capacity in countries to implement the SEEA and to demonstrate its benefits to policy makers.
On Tuesday, 26 February, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) board formally approved its US$4.5 million co-funding for the new Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management program in the Heart of Borneo.
This funding is part of a program that was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council in November 2012. In addition to the ADB’s US$4.5m, the GEF will provide US$2.5m, the Government of Indonesia US$0.5m and WWF US$2m. The GEF program is an example of the power of collaboration with public sector partners, which has resulted in several new funding mechanisms directed at the Heart of Borneo program.
Dawn is a mere glimmer on the horizon and the city is still plunged in darkness. Its cobbled streets are menacingly dark.
But specks of light pierce the breaking day in villages in Alanganallur block, Madurai East, Madurai West and Melur blocks. The streets are unpaved but streetlights powered by solar energy burn bright, lighting up the dips and curves on the village roads.
Load shedding has now become a way of life in Madurai, but good news is emerging from hamlets – big and small - in rural Madurai.
When The Hindu correspondent visited villages in the interior of Madurai East and Alanganallur, the villagers proudly displayed the solar panels they had installed in their homes.
Read more: http://www.propoor.org/news/?n=68146