Stories written by Kristin Palitza
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Thousands of Ivorian children were separated from their parents during the post-election violence in 2011.  Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

The Lost Innocence of Côte d’Ivoire’s Children

The group of children playing in a shaded courtyard in Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital Abidjan seem carefree. But when a car exhaust blasts, they tremble. When a soldier walks past, they shudder. And they become anxious when an unknown adult approaches them.

A health worker explains the sexual transmission of infections at the family planning clinic in Yopougon.  Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Men Still Make the Decisions on Reproductive Rights in Côte d’Ivoire

"I would like to use contraception, but my husband is against it," says Bintou Moussa*. The 32-year-old mother has just given birth to her sixth child at the Abobo General Hospital in Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan.

Dr. Tenedia Soro-Coulibaly (right) with patient Angama Ouattara, and her mother Minata (left). Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Struggling to Rebuild Côte d’Ivoire’s Health System

One-year-old Angama Ouattara lies on a rusted hospital bed, a drip attached to her tiny, left foot. Her mother, Minata, sits on the edge of the mattress, smoothing out the sheets she had to bring from home.

“A Catastrophic Year” as Hunger Crisis Looms over Sahel

Seven out of the eight governments in the Sahel – the arid zone between the Sahara desert in North Africa and Sudan’s Savannas in the south – have taken the unprecedented step of declaring emergencies as 12 million people in the region are threatened by hunger.

MAURITANIA: Ravaged by Drought – the Number of Malnourished Children Rises

Mariem Mint Ahmedou sits cross-legged on a worn-out carpet in a basic tent built with mud bricks and layers of sewn-together fabric. Her eight-month-old twins, Hussein and Hassan, lie weakly against her body. Both of them have been malnourished since birth, because Beydar, undernourished herself, cannot produce enough breast milk to feed them.

HEALTH-SOUTH AFRICA: HIV-Related Deaths Slow Economy

If there was no HIV/AIDS, South Africa would have 4.4 million more people than today, the size of a major city. This significant slow-down in population growth is causing a slow down in economic growth and resulting in social ills, researchers warn.

AFRICA: Miracle Tree is Like a Supermarket

When a food crisis hits the continent, African countries tend to look to the international donor community to mobilise aid. But a fast-growing, drought- resistant tree with extremely nutritious leaves could help poor, arid nations to fight food insecurity and malnutrition on their own.

WWF climate scientist Regina Guenther. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Q&A: “By 2020 it Will be Too Late”

Despite the high risk, it remains difficult to convince politicians to take immediate action to prevent further climate change and make available the necessary funds to do so. Scientists have warned repeatedly of the effects of climate change - if governments do not act fast, they will cause an irreversible catastrophe.

Almost nobody believes that a second, comprehensive commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is still possible. Credit: Zukiswa Zimela/IPS

Kyoto Protocol – Hopes for Tangible Results Remain Slim

The last hours of the 17th United Nations climate change summit in Durban have begun. Since the arrival of almost 150 ministers and heads of state on Tuesday, negotiations have moved to the political level. They are expected to debate the way forward until late Friday night, or even Saturday morning.

U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said there is a pool of possible financing options for the Green Climate Fund. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Carbon Pricing to Save Green Climate Fund

Carbon pricing will be the core mechanism to finance the Green Climate Fund and with it climate change adaptation projects in developing countries.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres (l) and COP 17 President Maite Mkoana- Mashabane (r) spoke at the opening of the high-level talks.  Credit: Zukiswa Zimela/IPS

CLIMATE CHANGE: Comprehensive Agreement Beyond Reach

The goal of a comprehensive and binding agreement may be beyond the reach of the 17th United Nations climate change negotiations, says the organisation's secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

Electric cars reduce urban air pollution.  Credit: Tinus de Jager/IPS

Sweden, UK and Germany Top Climate Protectors

Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany are the top countries to fight climate change, according to the 2012 Climate Change Performance Index, whose results were published at the United Nations climate change summit today.

Solar geysers are just one requirement for "green" accommodation.  Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

South Africa Moves Towards Low Carbon Footprint Travel

Counting on responsible travellers who increasingly seek environmentally friendly alternatives for their holidays, South Africa's tourism sector wants to conserve its biggest asset – nature – while fighting climate change at the same time.

Emerging economies face developmental challenges but are also significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.  Credit: Zukiswa Zimela/IPS

TRADE: Small Steps towards Emission Reduction Deal

Emerging economies China, South Africa and Brazil have indicated their openness to legally-binding carbon emission reduction targets from 2020 during the United Nations climate change summit in Durban, South Africa.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Marching for 100 Percent Change

Chanting loudly, thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets to the venue of the 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference to demand that their voices be heard for "immediate and drastic" carbon emission reductions to save the planet.

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