Inter Press ServiceIPS World Desk – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Sun, 23 Sep 2018 01:32:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.7 The Causes Behind Africa’s Digital Gender Dividehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/causes-behind-africas-digital-gender-divide-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=causes-behind-africas-digital-gender-divide-2 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/causes-behind-africas-digital-gender-divide-2/#respond Fri, 14 Sep 2018 16:00:10 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157628 Systemic inequalities based on gender, race, income and geography are mirrored in the digital realm and leave many women, especially the poor and the rural, trailing behind Africa’s tech transformation.  

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Systemic inequalities based on gender, race, income and geography are mirrored in the digital realm and leave many women, especially the poor and the rural, trailing behind Africa’s tech transformation.

By IPS World Desk
MAPUTO, Sep 14 2018 (IPS)

Systemic inequalities based on gender, race, income and geography are mirrored in the digital realm and leave many women, especially the poor and the rural, trailing behind Africa’s tech transformation.

 

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Migrants as Messengers Explain the Dangers of Irregular Migrationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/migrants-as-messengers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migrants-as-messengers http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/migrants-as-messengers/#respond Fri, 07 Sep 2018 10:00:39 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157488 Migrants as Messengers is a peer-to-peer messaging campaign by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) where returning migrants share with their communities and families the dangers, trauma and abuse that many experienced while attempting irregular migration. The stories are candid and emotional testimonials about the difficulties they faced. Here is the discussion around irregular migration with Senegalese […]

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Migrants as Messengers is a peer-to-peer messaging campaign where returning migrants share with their communities and families the dangers, trauma and abuse that many experienced while attempting irregular migration. The stories are candid and emotional testimonials about the difficulties they faced. Here are the discussion around irregular migration with hip-hop singer Matar Khoudia Ndiaye–aka Big Makhou Djolof and Ramatoulaye Diene, a legal migration activist and radio personality.

By IPS World Desk
DAKAR, Sep 7 2018 (IPS)

Migrants as Messengers is a peer-to-peer messaging campaign by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) where returning migrants share with their communities and families the dangers, trauma and abuse that many experienced while attempting irregular migration.

The stories are candid and emotional testimonials about the difficulties they faced.

Here is the discussion around irregular migration with Senegalese hip-hop singer Matar Khoudia Ndiaye–aka Big Makhou Djolof and Ramatoulaye Diene, a legal migration activist and radio personality.

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World Day for Indigenous Peopleshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/world-day-indigenous-peoples/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-day-indigenous-peoples http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/world-day-indigenous-peoples/#respond Tue, 07 Aug 2018 13:56:08 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157107 This video is part of a series of stories and op-eds initiated by IPS on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, on August 9.

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By IPS World Desk
ROME, Aug 7 2018 (IPS)

370 million self-identified indigenous peoples are spread across the world, but continue to face discrimination and marginalization.

Dispossessed of their lands, territories and ancestral resources, these people have increasingly been forced to give up their way of life, and have been pushed into unfamiliar worlds to survive.

In Latin America, for example, 40% of all indigenous peoples now live in urban areas – they account for 80% of those populations in some countries of the region.

Globally, they represent 5% of the world’s population, yet account for 15% of all of those in poverty.

Indigenous people have always sought recognition of their identities, their way of life and rights to their traditional lands. But, throughout history, they have been felled.

Today, they are arguably the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the world.

This year’s “International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples” will focus on the current situation of indigenous territories, root causes of migration and displacement, with particular emphasis on indigenous people living in urban areas.

The observance of this day will explore ways forward to revitalize indigenous people’s identities and encourage the protection of their rights in or outside their traditional territories.

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Excerpt:

This video is part of a series of stories and op-eds initiated by IPS on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, on August 9.

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VIDEO: World Day to Combat Desertification – Land Has True Value. Invest In Ithttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/06/world-day-combat-desertification-land-true-value-invest/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-day-combat-desertification-land-true-value-invest http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/06/world-day-combat-desertification-land-true-value-invest/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 09:25:16 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156195 This video is part of a series of stories and op-eds launched by IPS on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17

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World Day to Combat Desertification - Land Has True Value. Invest In It

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Jun 13 2018 (IPS)

We are witnessing the degradation of about 24% of the planet’s land, with water scarcity affecting almost 2 billion people on the planet.

Globally, 169 countries are affected by land degradation or drought, or both. Already average losses equal 9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) but for some of the worst affected countries, such as the Central African Republic, total losses are estimated at a staggering 40 percent of GDP. Asia and Africa bear the highest per year costs, estimated at 84 billion and 65 billion dollars, respectively.

 

 

Desertification entails losses of 42 billion dollars in annual global income, while actions to recover land cost between 40 and 350 dollars per hectare. The returns on investments in actions against degradation at the global level are four to six dollars for every dollar invested.

Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk
Dryland ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use.

Poverty, political instability, deforestation, over-grazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.

Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk. These people include many of the world’s poorest, most marginalized and politically weak citizens.

Since the year 2000, we have seen a substantial increase in migration forced by desertification: from 173 million people to 244 million people in only 15 years.

The 2018 World Day to Combat Desertification, focuses on how consumers can regenerate economies, create jobs and revitalize livelihoods and communities by influencing the market to invest in sustainable land management.

The day convenes under the slogan: “Land Has True Value. Invest In It,” to remind the world that land is a tangible asset with measurable value beyond just cash.

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Excerpt:

This video is part of a series of stories and op-eds launched by IPS on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17

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New Index Measures Empowerment & Inclusion of Women in Agriculturehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/new-index-measures-empowerment-inclusion-women-agriculture/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-index-measures-empowerment-inclusion-women-agriculture http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/new-index-measures-empowerment-inclusion-women-agriculture/#respond Fri, 27 Apr 2018 14:32:23 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155517 The pilot version of a new index for measuring empowerment and the inclusion of women in agriculture was launched April 27 in Washington DC. Described as the Project-Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (Pro-WEAI), it was developed jointly by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and thirteen […]

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Two farmers pick potatoes in Pampas, 3,276 meters above sea level, in the Andean region of Huancavelica, in central Peru, during a visit by specialists who accompanied IPS to the area that is home to the largest variety of native potatoes in the country. From Peru, potatoes spread throughout the entire world. Credit: Mariela Pereira / IPS

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Apr 27 2018 (IPS)

The pilot version of a new index for measuring empowerment and the inclusion of women in agriculture was launched April 27 in Washington DC.

Described as the Project-Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (Pro-WEAI), it was developed jointly by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and thirteen partner projects.

The tool helps agricultural developmental projects to assess women’s empowerment in a project setting, diagnose areas of women’s disempowerment, design strategies to address deficiencies, and monitor project outcomes, according to a press release.

“The pro-WEAI is a new tool that tells us what is happening within the household: Did participation in the project improve women’s control of income or intrahousehold harmony? Did it increase the possibility of domestic violence?” said Agnes Quisumbing, senior research fellow, IFPRI.

“It measures aspects of empowerment key to health and nutrition outcomes, an integral part of nutrition-sensitive agricultural projects.”

Pro-WEAI builds on the success of the original Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), launched in 2012, by directly capturing indicators of women’s empowerment at the project level, instituting a mechanism by which programs can measure the impact of an intervention.

Based on an initial round of project data, the core empowerment module of pro-WEAI measures three domains of power: power from within (intrinsic agency), power to (instrumental agency), and power with (collective agency).

Seven of the Pro-WEAI indicators build on the original WEAI indicators with some modifications: input in productive decisions; autonomy in decisions about income; ownership of land and other assets; access to and decisions on credit; control over income; work balance; and group membership.

Pro-WEAI strengthens the linkages to the three types of powers by including 5 new indicators: self-efficacy; attitudes toward domestic violence; visiting important locations; membership in influential groups; and respect among household members. A woman is considered empowered in pro-WEAI if she has adequate achievements in 75 percent, or 9 out of the 12 indicators, according to the press release.

“Combining qualitative and quantitative study has helped us understand empowerment,” said Ruth Meinzen-Dick, senior research fellow, IFPRI. “In the qualitative study, people described an empowered woman as someone who helps others. That fits well with the ‘power with’ domain in the quantitative indicators, and shows that empowerment is not just an individual activity,” she added.

The index was developed as part of the Gender Agriculture and Assets Project 2 (GAAP2), which works with 13 agricultural development projects that expressed the need for ways to measure if the interventions improved women’s lives. For instance, health and nutrition projects wanted to know if the intervention increased women’s decision-making in areas related to health and nutrition outcomes. These partner projects collected data to pilot pro-WEAI in the nine countries in which they work.

“By linking both quantitative and qualitative tools, pro-WEAI has improved understanding of how men and women define complex aspects such as empowerment, status, self-esteem, and tangible outcomes that are derived from being empowered,” said Susan Kaaria, Senior Gender Officer, Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Pro-WEAI is helping the UN Joint programme on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women, implemented by FAO, International Fund for Agriculture Development, World Food Programme and UN Women, in assessing the programme’s contribution to the empowerment of rural women in the Adami Tulu and Yaya Gulele districts of Ethiopia.

“I believe the use of the Pro-WEAI tools is going to result in more approaches being designed in the future that engage men and women, maybe equally or in equitable ways—even if it’s for the benefit of women’s empowerment,” said Bobbi Gray, research director, Grameen Foundation. “This has been an eye-opening experience, and we look forward to continuing this sort of research in our other projects.”

Pro-WEAI validation and testing is still ongoing. The final version of the pro-WEAI will be informed by the endline data collection and feedback received from stakeholders and project partners.

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World Press Freedom Day 2018http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/world-press-freedom-day-2018/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-press-freedom-day-2018 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/world-press-freedom-day-2018/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 13:08:05 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155456 The theme for the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,” focussing on the importance of an enabling legal environment for press freedom, and gives attention to the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and prosecution of crimes […]

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World Press Freedom Day 2018

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Apr 25 2018 (IPS)

The theme for the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,” focussing on the importance of an enabling legal environment for press freedom, and gives attention to the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and prosecution of crimes against journalists..

Only 13% of the world population enjoys a free press, where coverage of politics is robust, the safety of journalists is guarateed, and state intrusion in media affairs is minimal. A partly free press to 42% of the world population. The remaining 45% lives in countries where a free press is non-existent (“New Report: Freedom of the Press 2017”). Political and economic transformations of some countries alongside their technological developments place new restrictions on press freedom.

 

 

Governments of these countries tend to implement restrictive laws and censorship on freedom of press, usually justifying these actions as a necessary tool for national security against terrorism. Apart from violating the right of freedom of expression, these restrictions place higher risks of violence, harassment and death on journalists.

Since the year 2000, annual incarceration of journalists has continued to increase globally, with many of them never seeing the inside of a courtroom.  In 2017, 81 journalists died whilst committed to their jobs – 66% of them were murdered.

According to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, violence and restrictions against media freedom has risen by 14% in the time period of 2012-2017. At the same time, since 2016, media freedom in countries where it was ranked as “good” decreased by 2.3%.

Among the countries that suffered the largest declines on the report’s 100-point scale in 2016 were Poland (6 points), Turkey (5), Burundi (5), Hungary (4), Bolivia (4), Serbia (4), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (4).

The world’s 10 worst-rated countries and territories were Azerbaijan, Crimea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Turkmenistan.

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India Pledges $50 Million More to UN Partnership Fundhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/india-pledges-50-million-un-partnership-fund/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=india-pledges-50-million-un-partnership-fund http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/india-pledges-50-million-un-partnership-fund/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 11:59:32 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155412 At a time when funding for UN agencies is on the decline – and also threatened with cuts by the Trump administration—the Indian government has made an additional contribution of $50 million to development funding. At last week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, announced the launch of […]

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UN office for south-south cooperation. Credit: UN Photo

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Apr 23 2018 (IPS)

At a time when funding for UN agencies is on the decline – and also threatened with cuts by the Trump administration—the Indian government has made an additional contribution of $50 million to development funding.

At last week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, announced the launch of a $50 million “Commonwealth window” to the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.

This contribution is in addition to $100 million pledged in 2017 for the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, thereby increasing India’s multi-year contribution to $150 million.

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund is managed by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

The new Commonwealth window aims to catalyze the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries of the Commonwealth.

The countries supported by this fund are located in various parts of the world and include some of the most vulnerable Member States of the Commonwealth.

Grenada, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu are the first three development partners engaged under this newly created Commonwealth window.

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund Commonwealth window supports demand-driven, country-owned, and concrete initiatives that focus on the implementation of 17 SDGs, according to the UNOSSC.

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary of the UN said: “South-South cooperation is one of the world’s most important pathways to prosperity. I’m therefore delighted that India is demonstrating such strong leadership to helping others through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund. India’s commitment is also timely, as the world strives to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. India’s focus on multilateral action generates genuine hope that we can build a world where no one is left behind.”

Fekita Utoikaman, UN Under-Secretary General and the UNSG’s High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States said: “India’s leadership and dedication to improve the living conditions of people living in the countries that are most affected by poverty, hunger, and impacts of climate change, bring us closer to achieving the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased to work together with India in advancing sustainable solutions in the countries of the Global south and in enhancing the opportunities for a prosperous and sustainable future for all.”

Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the UN said: “The establishment of a dedicated Commonwealth window of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund is a unique model of South-South development Cooperation. The Commonwealth membership is built on a shared past, respect for common values, broadly similar government structures, and institutions. We are, therefore, excited to initiate this partnership to contribute to our collective efforts to implement Sustainable Development Goals.”

Singling out India’s contribution, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner declared: “Over the past two decades, India has made huge economic strides and lifted millions out of poverty. It has shown itself again to be a leader in South-South cooperation with this new opportunity to support vulnerable countries in the Commonwealth, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and fulfill the central promise of Agenda 2030 to leave no one behind”.

“The Commonwealth Window of India-UN Development Fund is an admirable example of South-South cooperation,” said Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation, and Director, UNOSSC. “UNOSSC is pleased and gratified to collaborate with the Government of India in bringing this initiative to fruition.”

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Food Is the Answer: Perugia International Journalism Festivalhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/food-answer-perugia-international-journalism-festival/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=food-answer-perugia-international-journalism-festival http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/food-answer-perugia-international-journalism-festival/#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:59:00 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155266 The twelfth International Journalism Festival on April 12-15 has drawn 710 speakers from 50 different countries, becoming the biggest journalism festival in Europe. A panel discussion titled “End poverty, protect the planet, ensure prosperity for all? Food is the answer” took place on the opening day in the Sala del Dottorato hall in the center […]

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Food Is the Answer: Perugia International Journalism Festival

Credit: Riccardo Gregori – Penumbria Studio #ijf18

By IPS World Desk
PERUGIA, Italy, Apr 13 2018 (IPS)

The twelfth International Journalism Festival on April 12-15 has drawn 710 speakers from 50 different countries, becoming the biggest journalism festival in Europe.

A panel discussion titled “End poverty, protect the planet, ensure prosperity for all? Food is the answer” took place on the opening day in the Sala del Dottorato hall in the center of Perugia, held under the auspices of the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN).

Lucio Caracciolo, President and Director of MacroGeo and Limes, presented a report prepared by the BCFN Foundation in collaboration with MacroGeo and CMCC (Centro euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici). The report “Food & Migration: Understanding the geopolitical nexus in the Euro-Mediterranean” , is a research tool “to explore through a geopolitical perspective, flows and trends of the current and future nexus of migration and food in specific areas, particularly the Mediterranean countries.”

Caracciolo emphasized the deep links between migration flows and food security in the Mediterranean region and how addressing the latter could be part of the solution to the former.

Luca di Leo, Head of Communications at BCFN, highlighted the crucial importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN, shedding light on the clear linkages between the 17 SDGs and food choices.

The Director General of IPS Farhana Haque Rahman and IPS Data Analyst Maged Srour participated as panellists.

Food systems are facing the enormous challenge of feeding increasingly growing and urbanised populations generally demanding a more environmentally intensive diet, while restoring and preserving ecosystems for the health of the planet.


Haque Rahman spoke about the urgent need to enhance the capacity of developing country journalists for them to be able to write analytical commentary to enhance awareness of communities on food sustainability and climate change and influence the food choices of the general public while also drawing attention of decision makers to take the right measure on policies.

She highlighted media capacity building and training undertaken by IPS on the SDGs in both developed and developing countries. The IPS Director-General shed light on the importance of giving access to ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) to poor farmers to enable them to better manage planting and marketing their products.

Maged Srour explained the nexus between water and security (the latter in terms of geopolitical security). Srour shared data on water insecurity, specifically in the Mediterranean region, and went on to explain how the increase in variability of water resources also affects the way countries interact.

“Most of the water in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region is actually shared by two or more nations. So, at the moment we also have climate change hitting this area and consequently an increase in water stress. This obviously increases tensions among those states,” he said.

“Climate change, in combination with the increasing population of the world, is definitely a source of instability which could exacerbate migration flows, and could become fertile grounds for extremism and for conflict,” he warned.

The Mediterranean region was at the heart of the panel discussions with most of the speakers discussing the nexus of food security, water security, climate change, migration and geopolitical security in the region.

Ludovica Principato, a researcher at the Barilla Foundation, presented data and in depth analyses on the Food Sustainability Index, which was developed in collaboration between the BCFN Foundation and the Economist Intelligence Unit, to promote knowledge on food sustainability. The index is a global study that measures facts on nutrition, sustainable agriculture and food waste, collecting data from 34 countries across the world.

“Food systems,” said Principato, “are facing the enormous challenge of feeding increasingly growing and urbanised populations generally demanding a more environmentally intensive diet, while restoring and preserving ecosystems for the health of the planet.”

IPS Director General Farhana Haque Rahman spoke about IPS’s work since it was founded in 1964, especially capacity building activities across the world to raise awareness of communities on topics such as food sustainability and climate change. She shed light on the importance of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) in the enhancement of sustainable farming and in the overall communication among smallholder farmers to become more productive and consequently climb out of poverty.

Laura Garzoli presented an innovative project which won the 2017 BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions) award granted by the BCFN Foundation to encourage innovative projects in the field of food sustainability.

Garzoli’s project, YES!BAT, “promotes Integrated Pest Management strategy to enhance ecosystem services provided by bats in rice agroecosystems”. Employing bat boxes in rice fields, it encourages insect-eating bats into areas where there are few roosting sites.

For those who missed the conference, it was live-streamed and is available here:

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Death Sentences Keep Sliding, Says Amnesty Internationalhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/death-sentences-keep-sliding-says-amnesty-international/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=death-sentences-keep-sliding-says-amnesty-international http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/death-sentences-keep-sliding-says-amnesty-international/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:49:30 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155253 As the United Nations continues to lead the global fight to abolish the death penalty, countries in sub-Saharan Africa have recorded a significant decrease in death sentences, according to a new report released by Amnesty International (AI). In its 2017 global review of the death penalty, AI has singled out Guinea, Kenya, Burkina Faso and […]

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By IPS World Desk
ROME, Apr 12 2018 (IPS)

As the United Nations continues to lead the global fight to abolish the death penalty, countries in sub-Saharan Africa have recorded a significant decrease in death sentences, according to a new report released by Amnesty International (AI).

In its 2017 global review of the death penalty, AI has singled out Guinea, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Chad for their positive steps amongst abolitionist states in sub-Saharan Africa.

The death penalty has no place in the 21st century — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Credit: OHCHR

Guinea became the 20th state in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, while Kenya abolished the mandatory death penalty for murder. Burkina Faso and Chad also took steps to repeal this punishment with new or proposed laws.

“The progress in sub-Saharan Africa reinforced its position as a beacon of hope for abolition. The leadership of countries in this region gives fresh hope that the abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is within reach,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty.

“With governments in the region continuing to take steps to reduce and repeal the death penalty well into 2018, the isolation of the world’s remaining executing countries could not be starker.

“Now that 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, it is high time the rest of the world follows their lead and consigns this abhorrent punishment to the history books.”

According to the report, there was a drop in the number of executing countries across sub-Saharan Africa, from five in 2016 to two in 2017, with only South Sudan and Somalia known to have carried out executions.

However, with reports that Botswana and Sudan resumed executions in 2018, the organization highlighted that this must not overshadow the positive steps being taken by other countries across the region.

Elsewhere in Africa, Gambia signed an international treaty committing the country not to carry out executions and moving to abolish the death penalty. The Gambian President established an official moratorium (temporary ban) on executions in February 2018.

Significant progress all around

Developments across sub-Saharan Africa in 2017 exemplified the positive trend recorded globally, with Amnesty International’s research pointing to a further decrease in the global use of the death penalty in 2017.

Amnesty International recorded at least 993 executions in 23 countries in 2017, down by 4% from 2016 (1,032 executions) and 39% from 2015 (when the organization reported 1,634 executions, the highest number since 1989).

At least 2,591 death sentences in 53 countries were recorded in 2017, a significant decrease from the record-high of 3,117 recorded in 2016. These figures do not include the thousands of death sentences and executions that Amnesty International believes were imposed and implemented in China, where figures remain classified as a state secret.

In addition to Guinea, Mongolia abolished the death penalty for all crimes taking the total of abolitionist states to 106 in 2017. After Guatemala became abolitionist for ordinary crimes such as murder, the number of countries to have abolished the death penalty in law or practice now stands at 142. Only 23 countries continued to execute – the same number as in 2016, despite several states resuming executions after a hiatus, according to the study.

Significant steps to reduce the use of the death penalty were also taken in countries that are staunch supporters of it. In Iran, recorded executions reduced by 11% and drug-related executions reduced to 40%.

Moves were also made to increase the threshold of drug amounts required to impose a mandatory death penalty. In Malaysia, the anti-drug laws were amended, with the introduction of sentencing discretion in drug trafficking cases. These changes will likely result in a reduction in the number of death sentences imposed in both countries in the future.

“The fact that countries continue to resort to the death penalty for drug-related offences remains troubling. However, steps taken by Iran and Malaysia to amend their anti-drugs laws go a long way towards showing that cracks are appearing, even in the minority of countries that still execute people,” said Shetty.

Indonesia, which executed four people convicted of drug crimes in 2016 in an ill-conceived attempt to tackle drug crime, did not carry out any executions last year and reported a slight decrease in the number of death sentences imposed.

Disturbing trends

However, distressing trends continued to feature in the use of the death penalty in 2017.

Fifteen countries imposed death sentences or executed people for drug-related offences, going against international law. The Middle East and North Africa region recorded the highest number of drug-related executions in 2017, while the Asia-Pacific region had the most countries resorting to the death penalty for this type of offence (10 out of 16).

Amnesty International recorded drug-related executions in four countries – China (where figures are classified as a state secret), Iran, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. The secrecy that shrouded capital punishment in Malaysia and Viet Nam made it impossible to determine whether executions for drug crimes occurred.

Singapore hanged eight people in 2017 – all for drug-related offences and double the amount in 2016. There was a similar trend in Saudi Arabia, where drug-related beheadings rocketed from 16% of total executions in 2016 to 40% in 2017.

“Despite strides towards abolishing this abhorrent punishment, there are still a few leaders who would resort to the death penalty as a ‘quick-fix’ rather than tackling problems at their roots with humane, effective and evidence-based policies. Strong leaders execute justice, not people,” said Shetty.

“The draconian anti-drug measures widely used in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific have totally failed to address the issue,” he warned.

Governments also breached several other prohibitions under international law in 2017. At least five people in Iran were executed for crimes committed when they were under 18and at least 80 others remained on death row, and people with mental or intellectual disabilities were executed or remained under sentence of death in Japan, the Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore and the USA.

Amnesty International recorded several cases of people facing the death penalty after “confessing” to crimes as a result of torture or other ill-treatment in Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In Iran and Iraq, some of these “confessions” were broadcast on live television.

Although the overall number of executing countries remained the same, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates resumed executions after a hiatus. In Egypt, recorded death sentences increased by about 70% compared to 2016.

Looking forward

With at least 21,919 people known to be under sentence of death globally, now is not the time to let up the pressure.

Positive steps were taken in 2017 and the full impact will be seen in the coming months and years. However, with some countries taking steps backwards – or threatening to – the campaign against the death penalty remains as essential as ever.

“Over the past 40 years, we’ve seen a huge positive shift in the global outlook for the death penalty, but more urgent steps need to be taken to stop the horrifying practice of state killing,” said Shetty.

“The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it. We know that by galvanizing the support of people worldwide, we can stand up to this cruel punishment and end the death penalty everywhere.”

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UN’s Zero Hunger Goal Remains a Daunting Challengehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/uns-zero-hunger-goal-remains-daunting-challenge/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uns-zero-hunger-goal-remains-daunting-challenge http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/uns-zero-hunger-goal-remains-daunting-challenge/#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2018 05:29:11 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155232 The United Nations, which is battling some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, still remains focused on one of its equally daunting undertakings: how to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. But the latest figures released in a joint study by the European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture […]

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By IPS World Desk
ROME, Apr 11 2018 (IPS)

The United Nations, which is battling some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, still remains focused on one of its equally daunting undertakings: how to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.

UN’s zero hunger challenge.

But the latest figures released in a joint study by the European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) highlight the gravity of the situation just last year alone when some 124 million people in 51 countries faced acute food insecurity — 11 million more than in 2016 (even while the number of people living on the edge of starvation and hunger remains at 815 million worldwide).

The 2017 increase, according to the ‘Global Report on Food Crises’, is largely attributable to new or intensified conflicts and insecurity in Myanmar, north-east Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Yemen.

Prolonged drought conditions have also triggered poor harvests in countries already facing high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition, both in eastern and southern Africa.

And UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres warned last January that hunger is on the rise the world over, with Africa registering the highest rates.

The Secretary General said agricultural and livestock productivity in Africa was under threat largely due to conflict and climate change. He added, “climatic shocks, environmental degradation, crop and livestock price collapse and conflict are all interlinked”.

Still, the United Nations seems determined to work towards its targeted goal of Zero Hunger by 2030. But how feasible is this?

Asked about the impediments facing that goal, Dr Marta Antonelli, Research Programme Manager at the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN), told IPS reducing the number of chronically undernourished people in Africa is one of the most urgent challenges that the world needs to face.

She pointed out that food insecurity, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, is related to a variety of interconnected factors, such as extreme poverty, un-diversified livelihoods, weak institutions and governance, and, especially, adverse climatic conditions and social conflicts.

“Climate change and severe extreme weather events could have a tremendous impact on crop yields, livestock, fish stocks and therefore affect farmer’s incomes (especially subsistence smallholder farmers) who become more vulnerable to food insecurity.”

Dr Antonelli said measures to tackle hunger in Africa include the harmonisation of governance of food security, sustainability and nutrition; building institutional responses to reduce extreme poverty and inequalities; supporting more efficient agricultural systems; ICTs and technology innovation.

Additionally, it also includes supporting farmers to diversify livelihoods and reduce vulnerability; restoring land and increasing integrated land and water management to improve harvests; identification of strategies for building resilience to shocks through adaptation to climate change, institutional response mechanisms; and finally monitoring and reporting of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through generation and sharing of reliable data.

The BCFN Foundation, a non-profit, independent think tank working for food sustainability, addresses today’s major food related issues with a multidisciplinary approach — from the environmental, economic and social perspective. That goal is to secure the wellbeing and health of people and the planet.

Asked what role BCFN can play, as part of its contribution to a resolution of the food crisis, Dr Antonelli said the coexistence of hunger and obesity, the overexploitation of natural resources and food loss and waste: these are the three paradoxes identified by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation.

According to BCFN, it recognises three imbalances that beset the global food system: food waste (nearly 1/3 of world food production), hunger in the face of epidemic levels of obesity (2.1 billion people impacted), and unsustainable agricultural systems (1/3 of world grain production is used for animal feed, foodstuffs are used for first generation biofuels instead of feeding people.

Dr Antonelli said: “Since 2009, we use a multidisciplinary approach to study and analyse the relationship between food and scientific, economic, social and environmental factors. Through research, dissemination and public engagement, our contribution to shift towards more sustainable food systems includes the Nutritional and Environmental Double Pyramid, the Milan Protocol, the publication of Eating Planet.”

Moreover, in 2016, BCFN launched the Food Sustainability Index (FSI), developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. The FSI analyses, ranks and maps 34 countries worldwide on a range of indicators, from food waste per capita to agricultural biodiversity and CO2 emissions from agriculture, to determine the sustainability of their food systems.

“We fund young research through the ‘BCFN YES!’, a contest open to PhD candidates and young research fellows around the world. The award is given in recognition and support of innovative projects on food and sustainability. We also believe that involving media and journalists is also pivotal to shed a light simultaneously on local and global food sustainability, inform people on supply chains and inform their choices.”

For this reason, the BCFN launched in 2016 the Food Sustainability Media Award, which invites journalists, bloggers, freelancers and individuals to submit work, either published or unpublished, on food safety, sustainability, agriculture and nutrition. (www.goodfoodmediaaward.org).

BCFN has also developed a series of educational programmes for school children and the MOOC on “Sustainable Food Systems: a Mediterranean Perspective” realised in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Mediterranean with SDG Academy and The University of Siena, with a major educational purpose.

It consists of a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, quizzes, discussion forums and deals with environmental and climate-related challenges basing upon Mediterranean experience, how sustainable farming systems is being utilized as a roadmap for positive action and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.

Asked about the importance of food sustainability– including eliminating waste and reducing obesity – as a key factor in reaching the 2030 goal, Dr Antonelli said the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 SDGs establish a global set of objectives for all countries in the world to be achieved by the year 2030.

SDGs range from the eradication of poverty and hunger, to the need to act for climate mitigation, to the promotion of education and gender equality, to preserving natural resources such as water in sufficient quantity and quality for human needs.

Food access, utilisation, availability, quality and sustainability are at the core of all SDGs and represent a pre-requisite to implement the 2030 Agenda in all countries in the world.

Agriculture accounts for one third of global GhG emissions, cover 38% of the world’s land surface (an area still in expansion), accounts for 70% of water withdrawals and 80% of desertification.

The number of hungry people, she pointed out, is rising again and exceeded 815 million in 2016; overweight and nutrition challenges affect two billion people both in the North and the South of the world; and about one third of the food produced for human consumption gets lost or is wasted.

“We cannot transform our world without fixing the food system first.”

Asked about the countries making the most progress in the Food Sustainability Index, she said the FSI Index shows that, when defining food sustainability by looking at country’s performance in sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges and food loss and waste, the top scoring countries are France, Japan, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, South Korea and Hungary.

The presence or absence of sound and well-implemented policies is fundamental in shaping the score of the countries analysed. Generally speaking, high human development is moderately correlated with higher sustainability of food systems.

The analysis performed in 2017 on the Mediterranean countries revealed that the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries are those struggling the most in achieving sustainable food system, especially in the area of food loss and waste, whereas they perform relatively better across the nutritional challenges indicators.

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World Autism Awareness Day 2018http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/world-autism-awareness-day-2018/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-autism-awareness-day-2018 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/world-autism-awareness-day-2018/#respond Wed, 28 Mar 2018 20:17:25 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155070 Autism Spectrum Disorder is a name that covers a range of similar disorders affecting a person’s interaction, communication and behaviour. Asperger Syndrome is included in this range. Its causes remain unknown, but one in sixty-eight children are diagnosed with ASD, and these numbers are on the rise globally. This year, World Autism Awareness Day will […]

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World Autism Awareness Day 2018

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Mar 28 2018 (IPS)

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a name that covers a range of similar disorders affecting a person’s interaction, communication and behaviour.

Asperger Syndrome is included in this range.

Its causes remain unknown, but one in sixty-eight children are diagnosed with ASD, and these numbers are on the rise globally.

This year, World Autism Awareness Day will be observed at the United Nations with particular emphasis on the importance of empowering women and girls with Autism.

In a world where gender imbalances are pervasive, women and girls with disabilities experience gender-base violence, abuse and socio-economic marginalization at disproportionately higher rates.

World Autism Awareness Day is our opportunity to enable them with a humanity that is often lost in today’s modern world.

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World Water Day – Nature for Waterhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/world-water-day-22-march/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-water-day-22-march http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/world-water-day-22-march/#respond Mon, 19 Mar 2018 11:22:45 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154882 The UN General Assembly will launch the International Decade for Action: Water for sustainable development (2018-2028) on World Water Day, 22 March 2018. According to UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak, outlining his priorities for 2018, the event will “contribute to the review of SDG 6” during the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable […]

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World Water Day

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Mar 19 2018 (IPS)

The UN General Assembly will launch the International Decade for Action: Water for sustainable development (2018-2028) on World Water Day, 22 March 2018. According to UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak, outlining his priorities for 2018, the event will “contribute to the review of SDG 6” during the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

This year’s theme Nature for Water explores how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises we see around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.

When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder to provide everyone with the water we need to survive and thrive.

Nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. We need to do so much more with ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible. Planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 – includes a target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.

World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water – the UN’s inter-agency collaboration mechanism for all freshwater related issues – in collaboration with governments and partners.

 

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Ban Ki-moon Elected President and Chair of GGGIhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/ban-ki-moon-elected-president-chair-gggi/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ban-ki-moon-elected-president-chair-gggi http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/ban-ki-moon-elected-president-chair-gggi/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:52:00 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154422 Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General (SG) of the United Nations (UN) has been elected as President of the Assembly and Chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) for a two-year term. He takes over from Gemedo Dalle, of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The appointment of Ban Ki-moon became effective […]

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By IPS World Desk
SEOUL, Feb 20 2018 (GGGI)

Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General (SG) of the United Nations (UN) has been elected as President of the Assembly and Chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) for a two-year term. He takes over from Gemedo Dalle, of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Dr. Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Elected as President and Chair of GGGI

Dr. Ban Ki-moon

The appointment of Ban Ki-moon became effective on 20 February 2018 following the unanimous agreement by Members of the GGGI Assembly, the Institute’s supreme governing body.

Frank Rijsberman, Director-General of GGGI, praising Ban Ki-moon for his achievements during his tenure as UN SG stated “Under Mr. Ban’s leadership, governments of the world agreed on concrete goals and targets necessary for achieving a more sustainable and inclusive future. The Climate Change targets agreed under the Paris Agreement and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are rightly recognized among the world’s greatest diplomatic successes. His vision and leadership will help GGGI deliver even greater impact in our mission supporting Member governments to achieve the ambitions set out under the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.”

As UN SG for two consecutive terms between 2007 and 2016, Ban Ki-moon worked relentlessly as a bridge builder, giving voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, and moving the organization to be more transparent and effective. He worked closely with member states of the UN to shape the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and also to establish UN Women, thereby advancing the UN’s work for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ban Ki-moon also undertook major steps to strengthen UN peace operations, to protect human rights, improve humanitarian response, prevent violent extremism and revitalize the disarmament agenda.

“I’m delighted to have been elected as the new President of the Assembly and Chair of the Council of GGGI and am willing to contribute to promoting green growth and sustainable development around the world. I will also try my best to fulfil the expectations of the international community in this regard,” said Ban Ki-moon after his election.

Ban Ki-moon’s dedication to tackle global challenges, including climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, food security and global health is aligned with GGGI’s objectives. With its four thematic priorities on Sustainable Energy, Water and Sanitation, Sustainable Landscapes and Green Cities, GGGI is dedicated to supporting countries in their transition to low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways – what is called “green growth”.

Prior to the time as UN SG, Ban Ki-moon was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea. His 37 years with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C., and Vienna. He was responsible for varied portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Vice Minister, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General for American Affairs.

As part of the role as President of the Assembly and Chair of the Council, Ban Ki-moon will chair the 11th Council and Assembly meeting of GGGI during the fourth quarter of 2018.

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GGGI Eyes Expanding Role in Triggering Pro-poor Green Growthhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/gggi-eyes-expanding-role-triggering-pro-poor-green-growth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gggi-eyes-expanding-role-triggering-pro-poor-green-growth http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/gggi-eyes-expanding-role-triggering-pro-poor-green-growth/#comments Fri, 09 Feb 2018 13:42:54 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154231 Green used to be the color of money. Now it’s the word we use to mean actions that don’t hurt perhaps even help the environment.  Moving from paper currency to the world we live in is progress! The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is playing a growing role in spreading the word. Today, it’s not […]

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GGGI eyes expanding role in triggering pro-poor green growth

A wind farm in Curacao. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Feb 9 2018 (IPS)

Green used to be the color of money. Now it’s the word we use to mean actions that don’t hurt perhaps even help the environment.  Moving from paper currency to the world we live in is progress!

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is playing a growing role in spreading the word. Today, it’s not so much pay to play as it is, to borrow from a popular television advertisement, “no green, no party.”

Long term economic growth will need to connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Linking these all together into a paradigm to lift people out of poverty is understood as the best and most sustainable pathway to a future of advancing economic growth.

It’s great news that more and more people understand that environmental factors are not a burden to be shouldered or shirked but an opportunity to be seized. A major industrialist speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year noted that going green is actually about the bottom line and the biggest business opportunity of the century.

Long term economic growth will need to connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Linking these all together into a paradigm to lift people out of poverty is understood as the best and most sustainable pathway to a future of advancing economic growth.

GGGI has for some time emphasized that the goal of inclusive growth catalyzes a host of potential actions – particularly regarding the broad factors related to climate change.

This year it signed a contribution agreement with Italy’s Environment Ministry to help Rwanda implement the carbon strategy pledged during the Paris climate agreement. GGGI will use the funds from Rome to provide technical assistance to increase resilience and adaptation to climate change in a country with one of the most go-green strategies in Africa. GGGI will use the fresh funds to provide technical and implementation support to Kigali, where it has been engaged for several years now.

These are important times in the region. The African Development Bank expects rapid economic growth in many countries, topping 8% this year in Ethiopia.

GGGI’s view is that rapid growth doesn’t just allow for the funding of a pro-poor go-green agenda, but allows for economic transformation that will allow that agenda to accelerate and proliferate on its own. Today it is particularly focused on working with developing and emerging countries to design and deliver programs and services that demonstrate new pathways towards these widely shared goals.

 

GGGI eyes expanding role in triggering pro-poor green growth

Photovoltaic power plant in El Salvador. Credit: Edgardo Ayala / IPS

 

It’s an effort to create a best-practises factory, as achieving impacts that set precedents that can propel themselves was instrumental in the history of South Korea, where GGGI is based and which moved from aid recipient to important donor.

That’s a reason why GGGI’s on-the-ground efforts are closely linked to partnerships with governments. In 2016, it facilitated the adoption of 14 green growth policies in 10 countries.

Areas for intervention are vast, and there is particular need for crafting interventions that grasp how policies intersect. For example, GGGI has a project to contribute to green job creation in Cambodia’s manufacturing sector, a goal that will require measures to lower urban air and water pollution levels, handle waste and traffic congestion in order to bear fruit.

In Rwanda, GGGI is also focused on a national plan to make sure the green agenda is implemented in six secondary cities, not just the capital. In Vanuatu, GGGI is working with national energy authorities setting up a National Green Energy Fund with the primary target of achieving 100 percent rural electrification, using renewable energy in rural areas.

Some 30 policies in more than a dozen countries have been rolled out in the past two years.

 

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SLIDESHOW: Tales of the 21st Century – Rohingyas Without a Statehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/153539/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=153539 http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/153539/#comments Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:42:36 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153539 IPS journalists have been reporting from the camp areas within Bangladesh. They have met and spoken to many Rohingya families and learned first-hand what happened to them - the women, children and men - and what their hopes are for the future. Our journalists captured images from far and wide that reflect the agony and fears of the Rohingya who are living in dismal conditions.

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A partial top view of Balukhali and Kutupalong camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

A partial top view of Balukhali and Kutupalong camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

By IPS World Desk
COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Dec 14 2017 (IPS)

The world has witnessed innumerable images of the long walk to ‘freedom’ of Rohingya women, children and men. Some trudged for endless hours and days, many carrying elderly parents and babies in baskets, with the women suffering the unimaginable trauma having been victims of rape, torture and harassment.

Some of them took boats and drowned, others floated their children in oil drums, not knowing how to swim. They fled their burning homes in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, crossing over to Bangladesh, stateless, homeless and hopeless.

These images, which spoke a thousand words, shocked the world. The United Nations described the tragedy as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. Over 600,000 Rohingya are now in living in camps Bangladesh, cared for by local and international NGOs, United Nations organizations such as IOM and government entities.

What lies at the root of this humanitarian crisis? Why have so many people been forced to flee their homeland? The exodus began in August after Myanmar’s security forces responded to Rohingya militant activities with brutality.

The Rohingya tragedy has been unfolding for decades, going back to 1948, when Myanmar gained independence. As the Rohingya felt insecure and feared genocide, amid growing international concern, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was appointed by the Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi to find ways to heal simmering divisions between the Rohingya and Buddhists.

In its final report, the commission urged Myanmar to lift restrictions on movement and to provide citizenship rights for the Rohingya in order to avoid fuelling ‘extremism’ in Rakhine state.

So, what must be done? While there are no simple solutions, Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a deal for the possible repatriation of Rohingya Muslims. The question now is can they safely return to their lands and homes – many of which were burned to the ground – and live as free people with the same rights accorded to Myanmar’s Buddhist majority?

 

A partial top view of Balukhali and Kutupalong camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

A partial top view of Balukhali and Kutupalong camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

A group of Rohingya children emerge from a nearby religious school in Kutupalong camp. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

A group of Rohingya children emerge from a nearby religious school in Kutupalong camp. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

Rohingya women at Kutupalong camp. There are now over a million refugees in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

Rohingya women at Kutupalong camp. There are now over a million refugees in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

A Rohingya woman at Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

A Rohingya woman at Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

A Rohingya woman and child at Kutupalong camp, about 35 km from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

A Rohingya woman and child at Kutupalong camp, about 35 km from Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

A dysfunctional tubewell in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

A dysfunctional tubewell in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

 

Rohingya women line up for aid. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

Rohingya women line up for aid. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

 

Rohingya women line up for food rations at Leda camp in Cox's Bazar. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

Rohingya women line up for food rations at Leda camp in Cox’s Bazar. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

 

Cotton used for menstruation dried on roofs of shacks in Kutupalong Camp. Credit: Umer AIman Khan/IPS

Cotton used for menstruation dried on roofs of shacks in Kutupalong Camp. Credit: Umer AIman Khan/IPS

 

Rohingya women of Balukhali camp embarking on the trek to the toilets. Credit: Umer Aiman Khan/IPS

Rohingya women of Balukhali camp embarking on the trek to the toilets. Credit: Umer Aiman Khan/IPS

 

 

Girls taking religious education lessons at a Madrasah in the camps. Credit: Kamrul Hasan/IPS

Girls taking religious education lessons at a Madrasah in the camps. Credit: Kamrul Hasan/IPS

 

Newborn children in the Rohingya refugee camps. Credit: Umer Aiman Khan/IPS

Newborn children in the Rohingya refugee camps. Credit: Umer Aiman Khan/IPS

 

A Rohingya woman and her child at a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Kamrul Hasan/IPS

A Rohingya woman and her child at a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Kamrul Hasan/IPS

 

Two Rohingya children carries firewood crossing Tamru canal that has divided Bangladesh and Myanmar along Bangladesh's Naikhong chhari border in Bandarban district. Several thousand Rohingya people are still staying i no man's land along Naikhongchhari border. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

Two Rohingya children carry firewood crossing Tamru canal that has divided Bangladesh and Myanmar along Bangladesh’s Naikhong chhari border in Bandarban district. Several thousand Rohingya people are still staying i no man’s land along Naikhongchhari border.
Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

A Rohingya boy shows his Myanmar currency at Shahparir Dwip in Cox's Bazar. Credit: Farid Ahmed / IPS

A Rohingya boy shows his Myanmar currency at Shahparir Dwip in Cox’s Bazar. Credit: Farid Ahmed / IPS

 

Rubina (extreme left) along with her friend at the Islamic School at Kutupalong camp, home to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

Rubina (far left) along with her friend at the Islamic School at Kutupalong camp, home to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

A Rohingya couple, Mohammad Faisal and his wife Hajera, pose for a photo with their child at their camp at Teknaf Nature's Park, Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

A Rohingya couple, Mohammad Faisal and his wife Hajera, pose for a photo with their child at their camp at Teknaf Nature’s Park, Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

The series of reports from the border areas of Myanmar and Bangladesh is supported by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)

The post SLIDESHOW: Tales of the 21st Century – Rohingyas Without a State appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

IPS journalists have been reporting from the camp areas within Bangladesh. They have met and spoken to many Rohingya families and learned first-hand what happened to them - the women, children and men - and what their hopes are for the future. Our journalists captured images from far and wide that reflect the agony and fears of the Rohingya who are living in dismal conditions.

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VIDEO: The Rohingyas ‘Long March to Freedom’http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/rohingyas-long-march-freedom/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rohingyas-long-march-freedom http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/rohingyas-long-march-freedom/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:14:30 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153518 Over 800 000 of the 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state in Myanmar have been on the run for years, fleeing by foot, walking for days at end to seek a safe place for their women and children. Described as ‘wretched of the earth’ they are unwanted in Myanmar and across the border […]

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The Rohingyas ‘long march to freedom’

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Dec 13 2017 (IPS)

Over 800 000 of the 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state in Myanmar have been on the run for years, fleeing by foot, walking for days at end to seek a safe place for their women and children.

Described as ‘wretched of the earth’ they are unwanted in Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh where they have have taken shelter.

Although their origins trace back to the Eighth century Arakan, where their ancestors were British subjects over the past seven decades they have lived lives of lesser human beings in the Rakhine state. Rohingyas are stateless today. Driven out of their homes, their ‘long march to freedom’ leaves them in a state of hopelessness.

 

 

As the Rohingyas fled their burning homes, images of violence against them showed how one-day old twins were being transported to safety in a coir basket while in another image a rickety son carried in baskets hanging at two ends of a bamboo pole his too-frail-to-walk parents. He had fear in his eyes but he did not abandon his parents only to protect only himself; he is a hero.

The speed and scale of the influx has made the Rohingya crisis the world’s gravest refugee crisis and a major humanitarian emergency, the largest and fastest flow of destitute people across a border since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

With each passing day, the numbers are increasing and the government of Bangladesh, local charities and volunteers, the United Nations and NGOs are working in overdrive to provide assistance and hope.

Is there an end in sight ? The origin of the crisis and thus the solution to this crisis lies with the authorities in Myanmar. Can world leaders, Nobel laureates and citizens around the world bring about an end to the human rights violations against the Rohingyas?

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Semaine mondiale de la croissance verte (GGGW)http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/semaine-mondiale-de-la-croissance-verte-gggw/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=semaine-mondiale-de-la-croissance-verte-gggw http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/semaine-mondiale-de-la-croissance-verte-gggw/#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 13:11:09 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154302 Plus de 600 représentants du gouvernement, de cellule de réflexion, du secteur privé et d’autres délégués de 40 pays ont participé à la Semaine mondiale de la croissance verte (GGGW) du 17 au 20 octobre 2017, organisée par la République fédérale démocratique d’Éthiopie et l’Institut mondial sur la croissance verte. Couvrant un éventail de sujets […]

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Semaine mondiale de la croissance verte (GGGW) - Mahamadou Tounkara, représentant de GGGI au Sénégal

By IPS World Desk
Nov 4 2017 (IPS)

Plus de 600 représentants du gouvernement, de cellule de réflexion, du secteur privé et d’autres délégués de 40 pays ont participé à la Semaine mondiale de la croissance verte (GGGW) du 17 au 20 octobre 2017, organisée par la République fédérale démocratique d’Éthiopie et l’Institut mondial sur la croissance verte.

Couvrant un éventail de sujets allant de la mise en valeur des énergies renouvelables aux partenariats public-privé en passant par la coopération Chine-Afrique, ainsi que les succès et les défis de l’Afrique en matière de croissance verte, cette plate-forme de dialogue a cherché à identifier des moyens de débloquer le potentiel de croissance verte de l’Afrique, le thème de la Semaine.

GGGI a créé un bureau au Sénégal et travaille étroitement avec le gouvernement sur les stratégies et les actions en faveur de la croissance verte. Selon Mahamadou Tounkara, représentant de GGGI au Sénégal, parmi les raisons pour lesquelles le Sénégal a été sélectionné, on note le dynamisme du leadership du pays à faire passer le pays à un autre modèle de croissance.

 

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Dr. Frank Rijsberman, GGGI Director General, speaks about the successes, lessons and opportunities that emerged from GGGWeek2017http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/dr-frank-rijsberman-gggi-director-general-speaks-successes-lessons-opportunities-emerged-gggweek2017/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dr-frank-rijsberman-gggi-director-general-speaks-successes-lessons-opportunities-emerged-gggweek2017 http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/dr-frank-rijsberman-gggi-director-general-speaks-successes-lessons-opportunities-emerged-gggweek2017/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 14:19:32 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154315 The Global Green Growth Institute, in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, held Global Green Growth Week 2017 from 17-20 October 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Attended by GGGI members, stakeholders from the public and private sectors, international organizations, and civil society, the GGGWeek2017 sought to strengthen and catalyze green growth in Africa […]

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Dr. Frank Rijsberman, GGGI Director General, speaks about the successes, lessons and opportunities that emerged from GGGWeek2017

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

The Global Green Growth Institute, in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, held Global Green Growth Week 2017 from 17-20 October 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Attended by GGGI members, stakeholders from the public and private sectors, international organizations, and civil society, the GGGWeek2017 sought to strengthen and catalyze green growth in Africa under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Green Growth Potential”.

In this video, Dr. Frank Rijsberman, GGGI Director General, speaks about the successes, lessons and opportunities that emerged from GGGWeek2017.

 

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Cathy Oxby from Africa GreenCo: public-private partnerships could extend cheaper energy to consumershttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/cathy-oxby-africa-greenco-public-private-partnerships-extend-cheaper-energy-consumers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cathy-oxby-africa-greenco-public-private-partnerships-extend-cheaper-energy-consumers http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/cathy-oxby-africa-greenco-public-private-partnerships-extend-cheaper-energy-consumers/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 14:06:53 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154313 Over 600 government, think tank, private sector and other delegates from 40 countries attended the Global Green Growth Week (GGGW) 2017, 17 – 20 hosted by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). Among key discussions was Africa’s Green Energy Challenges and Off-Grid Solutions. According to Cathy Oxby from […]

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Cathy Oxby from Africa GreenCo: public-private partnerships could extend cheaper energy to consumers

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

Over 600 government, think tank, private sector and other delegates from 40 countries attended the Global Green Growth Week (GGGW) 2017, 17 – 20 hosted by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). Among key discussions was Africa’s Green Energy Challenges and Off-Grid Solutions. According to Cathy Oxby from Africa GreenCo, public-private partnerships could extend cheaper energy to consumers and help close the gap in cost currently covered by subsidies.

 

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Senegal is quickly adopting green growth as key to its national development strategyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/senegal-quickly-adopting-green-growth-key-national-development-strategy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=senegal-quickly-adopting-green-growth-key-national-development-strategy http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/senegal-quickly-adopting-green-growth-key-national-development-strategy/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:56:25 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154310 Senegal is quickly adopting green growth as key to its national development strategy. According to Dr. Mahamadou Tounkara, the country already has lessons to share with the rest of Africa, key among them innovative financing strategies and greening cities. In this interview held on the sidelines of the 17-20 October GGGWeek2017, hosted by the Global […]

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Senegal is quickly adopting green growth as key to its national development strategy. According to Dr. Mahamadou Tounkara, the country already has lessons to share with the rest of Africa, key among them innovative financing strategies and greening cities.

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

Senegal is quickly adopting green growth as key to its national development strategy. According to Dr. Mahamadou Tounkara, the country already has lessons to share with the rest of Africa, key among them innovative financing strategies and greening cities.

In this interview held on the sidelines of the 17-20 October GGGWeek2017, hosted by the Global Green Growth Institute in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Tounkara discusses Senegal’s successes and green growth opportunities.

 

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