Inter Press Service

157 posts

PHL island women lead in peatland restoration

ALANGALANG, Leyte—Eluminada Roca has lived all her life next to the Leyte Sab-a Basin peatlands in this municipality. The grandmother from San Isidro village in this Leyte Island grew up looking at the green hills that feed water to the peatland, she harvested tikog—a peatland grass to weave mats—and ate the delicious fish that was once in abundant in the waters.

Sprouting mangroves restore hopes in coastal Myanmar

SHWE THAUNG YAN, Myanmar—Htay Aung is having a moment. The 63-year-old retired professor of marine science sits at the foot of a Buddha statue atop a hill on Shwe Thaung Yan subtownship, in Myanmar’s Ayyerwady region, almost in meditation. Below him, a vast thicket of mangrove glistens in the gold of a setting sun.

Over half of world’s tropical forests destroyed

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt—At least 10 more percent of land than what is currently being used to grow green crops will be required to successfully replace fossil fuels with alternatives derived from natural sources such as biofuel, biodiversity conservationists have revealed.

Should environmental refugees be granted asylum status?

UNITED NATIONS—The 1951 United Nations convention on political refugees—which never foresaw the phenomenon of climate change—permits refugee status only if one “has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

Empowering women improves communities, ensures success for generations

ROME—At an event held on October 29 at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) Gender Awards 2017, five countries were honored for impressive achievements in gender equality and women’s empowerment despite harsh conditions and numerous daunting situational and societal obstacles. The five countries are Bangladesh, Mozambique, Colombia, Morocco and Mauritania. The Ifad-supported projects in these countries have ambitious goals for a more egalitarian future. To date, these projects have successfully provided women with decision-making opportunities, skill training and increased autonomy through the development of their own livelihoods.

Alert: Nature on the verge of bankruptcy

ROME—Pressures on global land resources are now greater than ever, as a rapidly increasing population, coupled with rising levels of consumption, is placing ever-larger demands on the world’s land-based natural capital, warns a new United Nations report.

World lags on clean-energy goals

VIENNA, Austria—It may be the 21st century but more than 3 billion people still use fire for cooking and heating. Of those, 1 billion people have no access to electricity despite a global effort launched at the 2011 Vienna Energy Forum to bring electricity to everyone on the planet.

‘Religious discrimination and fanaticism worsened’

ROME/GENEVA—Religious discrimination, fanaticism and xenophobia have worsened in several countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America, thus, there is a need for alternatives to identify a common strategy to address these challenges, a Geneva-based think tank promoting global dialogue said.

A carbon law to protect the climate

UXBRIDGE, Canada—The Carbon Law says human carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced by half each decade starting in 2020. By following this “law”, humanity can achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by midcentury to protect the global climate for current and future generations.

UN and the religious right​

UNITED NATIONS—Religious advocacy groups have a long history of working with the United Nations, pushing back against progressive interpretations of the terms “family” and “marriage” as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Developmentalism, conservation clash out at sea

CANCUN, Mexico—“We don’t have access to marine areas, because most are protected areas or are in private hands. We indigenous peoples have been losing access to our territories, as this decision became a privilege of the state,” complained Donald Rojas, a member of the Brunka indigenous community in Costa Rica.

‘Complex’ climate fund procedures hindering devt

DHAKA—Though highly hopeful about achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) well ahead of the 2030 deadline, Bangladesh is upset over the procedures to access the Green Climate Fund (GCF), calling them “ridiculously complex” and warning that they may slow down its drive to achieve the SDGs.

Climate-resistant beans could save millions

CALI, Colombia—A global food watchdog works around the clock to preserve crop biodiversity, with a seed bank deep in the Colombian countryside holding the largest collection of beans and cassava in the world and storing crops that could avert devastating problems.

India’s climate migrants lead mass migration to cities

NEW DELHI—Deepa Kumari, a 36-year-old farmer from Pithoragarh district in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, lives in a one-room tenement in south Delhi’s Mongolpuri slum with her three children. Fleeing devastating floods, which killed her husband last year, the widow landed up in the national capital city last week, after selling off her farm and two cows at cut-rate prices.

Antibiotic resistance needs global response

UNITED NATIONS—Addressing antibiotic resistance will require a global political response similar to the way the world has reacted to climate change or HIV/AIDS, Sweden’s Minister of Public Health Gabriel Wikstrom, told Inter Press Service (IPS) recently.

Coral-reef tourism in danger

recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) report on World Heritage Sites in danger from climate change received widespread media attention, after the Australian government requested the removal of a chapter on the Great Barrier Reef.

Humanitarian summit, a big ‘disappointment’

ISTANBUL, Turkey—The World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul on May 23 and 24 failed to achieve its fund-raising goals. With the exception of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, none from the group of the richest courtiers or of the UN Security Council attended. And the summit could not mobilize the much-needed resources it had hoped for.

No curtains yet for BRICS

NEW DELHI—With Goldman Sachs folding up its hemorrhaging Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) fund, is it curtains for the acronym that defined the investment bankers’ fancy for emerging markets?

Pope? Yes; Dalai Lama? No

UNITED NATIONS—When the United States established diplomatic relations with the Holy See back in January 1984, a televangelist asked rather sarcastically: when will Mecca send its own ambassador to Washington D.C.?

Pope raises concerns on transgenic crops

MEXICO CITY—In his second encyclical since he became pope on March 13, 2013—but the first that is entirely his work—Jorge Mario Bergoglio criticizes the social, economic and agricultural impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and calls for a broad scientific debate.

US Supreme Court deals blow to Obama’s emissions cuts

NEW YORK—In a setback to the Barack Obama administration’s clean energy plans just five months ahead of a critical climate-change summit in Paris this December, the US Supreme Court on Monday blocked an initiative to limit emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal-fired power plants.