Education for constructive change
By Jens Waltermann | Inter Press Service
By Jens Waltermann | Inter Press Service
MILAN, Italy—Local knowledge systems rooted in traditional practices and culture passed down generations provide sustainable solutions to food and nutritional insecurity on the back of climate change, said at a conference recently.
NEW DELHI—The India Meteorological Department (IMD) in January declared that 2018 was the sixth-warmest year in the last 117 years or since 1901, when recording started.
By Yash Bhandari | Inter Press Service
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.
STOCKHOLM—The trade unions’ solution for a greener world is new jobs with good working conditions. The critics argue that there’s not enough time.
GEORGETOWN—New data show that globally 2 billion hectares of land—roughly twice the size of China—have been degraded. And of this amount, 500 million hectares are abandoned agricultural lands.
PARAMARIBO—Suriname, the most forested country in the world, hosted a major international conference on climate financing for High Forest Cover and Low Deforestation (HFLD) countries.
HANGA ROA, Chile—Social activists and local authorities in Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, are calling for urgent action to address rising sea temperatures, declining rainfall and rising tides that threaten their fishing resources and their Moais, the mysterious volcanic stone monoliths.
GEORGETOWN—The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification’s (UNCCD) Drought Initiative is in full swing with dozens of countries signing up to plan their drought program.
ZURICH, Switzerland—The unusually hot summer of 2018 showed that climate change affects a central part of our lives: agriculture. The severe drought in Liechtenstein led to large losses in the hay harvest.
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.
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.
By Vladimir Smakhtin | Inter Press Service
WAGENINGEN, the Netherlands—“This season, the month of May was particularly hot and dry,” said Leo de Jong, a commercial farmer in Zeewolde, in Flevopolder, the Netherlands.
By Palitha Kohona | Inter Press Service
By Nalisha Kalideen
Climate change is one of the main drivers of migration and will be increasingly so. It will even have a more significant role in the displacement of people than armed conflicts, which today cause major refugee crises.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Which countries have emitted the most greenhouse gases? The quick answer is, “It depends.” A more definitive response is tougher than you may expect. Many factors inform the answer.
TAMPA, Florida—On the recent World Water Day, universal access to clean water continues to be a privilege, when it should be a right. Experts predict that by 2030 the global water demand will exceed supply by 40 percent.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Research increasingly demonstrates that poor customers, just like other customers, value their privacy and care deeply about the protection of their personal data.
By Kaya Dorey | Inter Press Service
By Tim Wainwright | Inter Press Service
MAASTRICHT, Netherlands—China, once the final resting place for half the world’s trash, has just banned the import of certain plastic, paper and textile waste.
fWASHINGTON, D.C.—Without reliable access to water, human beings cannot survive. Yet, three out of 10 people do not have a safely managed water supply, and six out of 10 lack safely managed sanitation. Over 2 billion people drank water that was contaminated with feces in 2015.
TOGORU, Fiji—The water is nibbling away the beaches of Fiji. Not even the dead are allowed peace of mind. The graveyard of Togoru—a village on the largest island of Fiji—has been submerged.
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.”
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.
BONN, Germany—Land restoration is not a “glamorous subject even when you give all the numbers,” admitted Monique Barbut, the executive secretary of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
BONN, Germany—As the summit of governments, known as 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) reached its conclusion in Bonn, Germany, last weekend, two clear alliances have emerged in the global energy landscape.
ROME—The United Nations Climate Change Summit in Bonn is a step further, most experts say. Fine, but toward what?
By Paloma Duran | Inter Press Service
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.
ROME—As an unprecedented gesture, Pope Francis has donated €25,000 to the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) efforts supporting people facing food insecurity and famine in East Africa.
UNITED NATIONS—In March 2015 at the Sendai World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction, then-President of Kirbati, Anote Tong, made it very clear how vulnerable his country was to climate and disaster risk, when he informed the room (which was sadly less than half full) that his country had purchased land in Fiji.
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.
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.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—The greatly excessive use of antibiotics in food production in recent decades has made many bacteria more resistant to antibiotics.
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.
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.
UNITED NATIONS—Unhealthy environments—both inside and outside the home—cause the deaths of more than 1.7 million child under the age of 5 every year, according to two new reports released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday.
ROME/GENEVA—The United Nations health organization has just published its first-ever list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens”—a catalogue of 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health.
UNITED NATIONS—Kids growing up in the Seychelles think of the ocean as their backyard, says Ronald Jean Jumeau, the Seychelles ambassador to the UN.
UNITED NATIONS—A significant global demographic change having far-reaching consequences, yet receiving, scant attention is the rise of one-person households.
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas—Earl Hatley, a descendant of the Cherokee/Delaware tribe, has witnessed the consequences of using hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” on his native land to produce shale gas.
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.
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.
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.
MARRAKECH, Morocco—With climate change posing growing threats to smallholder farmers, experts working around the issues of agriculture and food security say it is more critical than ever to implement locally appropriate solutions to help them adapt to changing rainfall patterns.
PENANG—New research is showing that air pollution is a powerful silent killer, causing 6.5 million worldwide deaths, as well as being the major cause of climate change.
NAIROBI, Kenya—Land degradation already affects millions of people, bringing biodiversity loss, reduced availability of clean water, food insecurity and greater vulnerability to the harsh impacts of climate change.
QUITO, Ecuador—“We, as mayors, have to govern midsize cities as if they were capital cities,” said Héctor Mantilla, city councilor of Floridablanca, the third-largest city in the northern Colombian department of Santander.
ROME—Almost inadvertently, humankind is getting closer every day to the point of no-return toward what could be called the “climate doomsday”.
By Dr. Shamshad Akhtar | Inter Press Service
UNITED NATIONS—The world will need to more than double its current infrastructure stock over the next 15 years—a massive undertaking that could either contribute to or combat catastrophic climate change—according to a new report.
SANTIAGO, Chile—Climate change is leading to major modifications in agricultural production in Latin America and the Caribbean, and if mitigation and adaptation measures of the productive system are not urgently adopted, threats to food security will be exacerbated.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Given the enormity of the challenges confronting humanity, the world’s investment in science, technology and innovation is woefully inadequate.
UNITED NATIONS—The International Criminal Court (ICC) will pay more attention to crimes of environmental destruction and land-grabs, according to a new policy paper published by the court.
ROME—The warning is sharp, and the facts alarming: 92 percent of the world’s population live in places where levels exceed recommended limits. And 6.5 million people die annually from air pollution.
HONOLULU, Hawaii—The international conservation community has taken an important step toward saving African elephants from mass slaughter by voting at a major congress to call on all governments to ban their domestic trade in ivory.
ROME—Climate change and related extreme weather events have devastated the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of most vulnerable people worldwide—by far exceeding the total of all the unfortunate and unjustifiable victims of all terrorist attacks combined.
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.
UNITED NATIONS—The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) warned on Thursday that global fish stocks cannot keep up with record consumption, with the average person now consuming 20 kilograms of fish a year.
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.
LONDON—Although instances of elder abuse are widespread around the world, many government responses have been inadequate.
A 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.
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.
By Elizabeth Fraser | Inter Press Service
SANTO DOMINGO—The nearly 7,000 islands and the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea are home to thousands of endemic species and are on the migration route of many kinds of birds. Preserving this abundant fauna requires multilateral actions in today’s era of global warming.
NEW DELHI, India—On a late Friday afternoon as choking smog descended on the Indian Capital, François Richier, the French ambassador to India, took some hard questions from scores of journalists about the upcoming climate-change talks in Paris this month.
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?
By Arnab Jyoti Das / Inter Press Service
By Diana Mendoza / Inter Press Service
By Geeta Rao Gupta / Inter Press Service
By Thalif Deen | Inter Press Service
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.?
By Thalif Deen | Inter Press Service
By Ivet Gonzalez | Inter Press Service
By Silvia Boarini / Inter Press Service
By Kitty Stapp / Inter Press Service
MANAGUA—Central America’s toolbox to pull 23 million people—almost half of the population—out of poverty must include three indispensable tools: universal access to water, a sustainable power supply and adaptation to climate change.
By Thalif Deen | Inter Press Service
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.
IPS / Jed Alegado
ALTAMIRA, Brazil—Paulo de Oliveira drives a taxi in the northern Brazilian city of Altamira, but only when he is out of work in what he considers his true profession: Operator of heavy vehicles like trucks, mixers or tractor loaders.
By Zhai Yun Tan / Inter Press Service
UNITED NATIONS—When the United Nations seeks outside financial assistance either for development needs or to advocate social causes, it invariably turns to the private sector these days.
NEW YORK—Although four in 10 adults have never heard the phrase “climate change,” many are aware that something is amiss with local weather patterns, a new survey covering 119 countries has found.
By Jaya Ramachandran / Inter Press Service
UNITED NATIONS (UN)—When the 21-year-old Crown Prince of Jordan, Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, presided over a Security Council meeting in April, he was described as the youngest ever to chair one of the UN’s most powerful political bodies armed with powers to wage wars and declare peace.
By Emma Bonino / Inter Press Service
By Diego Arguedas Ortiz / Inter Press Service
UNITED NATIONS—Ever since the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development in March 2002 called for new and innovative strategies to complement traditional Official Development Assistance, various financial instruments have been discussed.
UNITED NATIONS—Global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in 2014 declined 16 percent to $1.2 trillion, according to this year’s newly released World Investment Report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
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.
UNITED NATIONS—Blessed with more than $4.4 billion in pledges at an international donor conference in Kathmandu on Thursday, the government of Nepal is expected to launch a massive reconstruction project to rebuild the earthquake-devastated South Asian nation.
By Tomás Insua / Inter Press Service
By Mary Carol Garrity / Tribune News Service
UNITED NATIONS—With cities increasingly in the spotlight on the international stage, urban planning and development has become a critical issue in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).