Stories written by Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu covers Central and Eastern Europe for IPS. Romanian, she is currently based in Warsaw, Poland. She is particularly interested in environmental issues and social activism in post-socialist countries. | Twitter |

Ending Hunger Is Possible

Thirty-eight countries were recognised for the first time on Sunday by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation for cutting in half the prevalence of people suffering from undernourishment, one of three targets under the first Millennium Development Goal.

Feed the Hungry, Save the Planet

Humanity currently needs the resources of one and a half planets to support our lifestyles. But do we really need to burn out the earth in order to feed ourselves?

Sowing a Healthier Future

“If there was enough political will to defeat hunger, we would defeat it right now - immediately,” says Enrique Yeves, chief of corporate communications at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The “Secret Treasure” of Food Waste

Twenty-nine-year-old Andrzej W. and his partner lived for almost a year off of food found in the trash bin of the upscale supermarket Piotr i Pawel in Muranow, a neighbourhood near the centre of the Polish capital Warsaw. And they ate in style.

Austerity Leaves Domestic Violence Victims Stranded

Up to a quarter of women in Europe have experienced domestic violence at some point in their lives, according to the Council of Europe. But despite the widespread nature of the phenomenon, more often than not we ignore it. A short video launched last month in Serbia managed to break this silence.

Border Control by Another Name

Crossing the Belgian-German border in the heart of Europe should be a smooth experience, with no border controls, since the Schengen free movement area came into existence. Yet identity checks at this border and others inside Schengen are not uncommon, despite the contorted logic applied to prove their legality.

Poland Cornered Over Its Secret Prisons

A Polish official investigation into the existence of a secret CIA prison on its territory is being stalled, according to official sources, while pressure on the country to tell the truth mounts.

Winter of Discontent Progresses to Bulgaria

Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov of the ruling centre-right Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), announced his resignation Wednesday, following two weeks of sustained protests across the country which were sparked by rising electricity and heating costs.

People Pay for Research Against Migrants

Publicly funded research is paying towards security systems that the EU is inviting major multinationals to put together to keep unwanted migrants out.

Closing Europe’s Borders Becomes Big Business

The European Union is implementing a new border management system with tougher migration control the core aim. Major security and weapons companies are already reaping the benefits.

Detained at the Eastern Border – Part 2

Twenty-two years ago today, on Dec. 18, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Detained at the Eastern Border – Part 1

A recent hunger strike, involving over 70 migrants detained in heavily guarded centers across Poland, is forcing the country to face its new responsibilities as a migration hub within the European Union.

New HIV Epidemic Looms over Romania

New HIV infections among Romanian drug users have grown exponentially over the past couple of years, from three to five cases annually between 2007 and 2009, to 98 just in the first half of 2012.

Local Money Sets Its Own Stamp

Bristol, the eighth most populous town in the UK, has launched a local currency - the Bristol Pound. That makes it one of the largest localities to embrace a complementary currency among more than 2,500 worldwide.

South Invited to ‘De-Grow’

“We should find the way, with our small degrowth movement in the global North, to align ourselves with the environmental justice movement originating with indigenous peoples from the South,” Catalan ecological economist Juan Martinez-Alier said at the third international degrowth conference in Venice, Italy.

An organic farm in the village of Swierze Panki, about 100 kilometres east of the Polish capital Warsaw. Credit: Claudia Ciobanu/IPS

Feed Europe, Feed the World

A huge moment for reform of the industrial farming system in Europe has many stakeholders on edge. Farmers who are feeling the crunch of rising input costs – from fertilisers to fuel – believe they can benefit greatly from a transition to more traditional and sustainable farming methods.

Europe Thinks Again About Food

Present day European farming is based on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which was created over six decades ago by countries emerging from severe food shortages that swept the continent during and after the Second World War.

‘Reforms’ Legacy Rocks Romania Again

Romanian President Traian Basescu is close to being impeached after the Parliament suspended him Friday. The political crisis, however, distracts from citizens’ calls for a more responsive political class and a halt to declining standards of living.

Small farmers around the world face special challenges in sustaining their livelihoods. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Youth Farmers Have Great Needs and Low Expectations from Rio+20

Ulvia Abdullayeva, from Ganja in western Azerbaijan, has come to Rio to deliver a simple but critical message to world leaders and her national authorities: small farmers need protection and financing.

European Refugees Meet Austerity-Era Hostility

As the economic slump drags on in Europe, refugees and immigrants are keeping a wary eye on state budgets, as governments in the throes of austerity slash the social protections and public services that minorities rely on.

Little Money to Promote Gender Equality in Eastern Europe

Despite pushes from international bodies such as the United Nations (UN) or the European Union (EU) to promote gender equality in Central and Eastern Europe, access to funding for such initiatives remains largely conditional upon national governments’ willingness to embrace this agenda.

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