In 2011, when Rwanda committed to restoring 2 million hectares of land in a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested areas by 2020 — it seemed like a big ask.
One chilly afternoon in November 2005, Hilarino came by Pedro’s house in Oaxaca, Mexico, driving a shiny red car.
“Pedro!” he shouted, “We are leaving in March. There is a route North to the U.S. that passes along the sea.”
When the Tokwe-Mukosi dam’s wall breached, so started the long, painful and disorienting journey for almost 18,000 people who had lived in the 50-kilometre radius of Chivi basin in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo province as even those not affected by the flood were removed from their homes.
As the villagers sit around the flickering fire on a pitch-black night lit only by the blurry moon, they speak, recounting how it all began.
They take turns, sometimes talking over each other to have their own experiences heard. When the old man speaks, everyone listens. “It was my first time riding a helicopter,” John Moyo* remembers.
Misganew Andeurgay changes his bamboo-made pen for another, dips it in a tiny pot of viscous liquid and, on a parchment page filled with black script, begins to trace in scarlet-red ink the Amharic word for god.
Western fears of a civil war in Afghanistan are growing ahead of the scheduled pullout of international troops in 2014. However, experts here say the situation on the ground is not comparable to either 1988, when the Soviets withdrew from the country, or the mujahideen’s rise to power in 1992, which plunged the country into civil war.
Many of the fastest-growing countries in the world are in Africa, the poorest continent on the planet, but the potential for recently-discovered resources to generate broad-based inclusive development opportunities is massive and remains under-exploited.
Shortly after Israel and Hamas signed a ceasefire agreement on Nov. 21, the Israeli navy abducted 30 Palestinian fishers from Gaza's waters, destroyed and sank a Palestinian fishing vessel, and confiscated nine fishing boats in the space of four days.
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.
Sita Tamang’s husband went missing sometime in 2004, two years before Nepal’s civil war came to an end. A native of Dharan, a town about 600 kilometres southeast of Kathmandu, Tamang waited seven years after his disappearance before she tried to claim compensation offered by the government after a 2006 peace deal ended this country’s bloodshed.
When the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), an alliance of 21 major European corporations, first unveiled plans to install a network of solar thermal, photovoltaic, and wind plants across the North African Maghreb region to generate electricity, the project was greeted as a ‘green utopia’.
When Hiroko Taguchi retired this past April, at the age of 64, from her job as an insurance sales agent, she joined the rapidly growing ranks of Japan’s aging women who now outnumber their male counterparts.
As Somalia starts to emerge from its quagmire of instability and chaos, 20 years of relative peace and stability are starting to pay dividends for its close neighbour Somaliland, as this November it struck its first major oil deal since seceding from Somalia in 1991.
It all started with a fight, one that would change his life forever.
South African smallholder farmer Motlasi Musi is not happy with the African Centre for Biosafety’s call for his country and Africa to ban the cultivation, import and export of all genetically modified maize. "I eat genetically modified maize, which I have been growing on my farm for more than seven years, and I am still alive," he declared.
The skyscraper Qatari capital city of Doha is a far cry from Cecilia Kibe’s home in Turkana district, a remote area in Kenya inhabited by mostly nomadic communities and pastoralists hit hard by the effects of climate change.
"In Luanda there are no matches." This was the first line of a report written by Nobel Literature laureate Gabriel García Márquez in the Angolan capital in 1977.
As Israel and Hamas separately celebrate the ceasefire and their “victory” over the other following Israel’s blistering eight-day military assault on the Gaza strip, civilians continue to pay the price.
The tour guide’s voice echoes around the dark, musty room, three stories underground. Fifty visitors – among them mothers holding infants, youths snapping pictures on mobile phones and grandparents leaning against the walls – are crammed into the narrow stairwell that leads down into the chamber, listening attentively to his every word.
"The city looked as if it had been bombed. On the way to my office, I passed people who had the same shocked look on their faces as I did. We would look at each other, and even though we were strangers, we’d ask ‘How did things go for you? Did anything happen to your house?’ It was a kind of warm solidarity that did me a lot of good.”
A new website linking corruption and other scandals to high-ranking Kenyan politicians, created by a team of political provocateurs, has become one of the most-visited web pages in the country.