According to official data on the global prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) released by UNICEF there are 200 million women and girls
in the world who have been cut. Shocking though this statistic is, it seriously underestimates the nature and scale of the problem.
They said they cared about climate change but they flew in on private jets in record numbers. They said they cared about inequality but laughed off the idea of higher taxes for the rich. They spoke about democracy and human rights but they dined with a far-right populist. If there was ever any doubt about Davos representing the epitome of duplicity, then 2019 has firmly laid that to rest.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has debunked the notion that there is no funding available for countries to prevent, reduce or reverse land degradation.
World leaders have committed to ending poverty everywhere for all people by 2030.
Achieving this aim means facing up to the need for dramatic declines in inequalities – in income, in opportunity, in exposure to risk, across gender, between countries and within countries – over the next decade.
As I was attending the 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—to create a rulebook to operationalise the Paris Agreement—in Katowice, Poland, it dawned on me, like never before, that the negotiations were taking place in a make-believe world.
I thought about this song by Paul Simon while I in 2011 spent a few weeks in Kinshasa. I was a foreign man in a strange world, surrounded by sights and sounds, completely dependent on my new-found Congolese friends. When our taxi got stuck in a traffic jam and we had to walk to our destination I was stopped by a group of heavily armed youngsters, lead by a man who claimed to be a policeman, charging me with an exaggerated high fine for taking photos within a restricted area.
Four of the top five most impactful threats in this year’s World Economic Forum´s Global Risks report are related to climate change. The report warns that we are “sleepwalking to disaster
” . But that is not true.
The disaster is already here, it´s not something we are still walking towards. Climate change is no future threat, it´s a current one. We have entered a new phase, one in which the impacts are coming faster, with greater intensity.
On 15 January 2019, terror struck Nairobi's 14 Riverside Drive.
Kenya is in mourning following a senseless act on innocent and defenseless civilians by individuals preoccupied with contemptible and misplaced ideology; who hope to intimidate others through violent acts of terror. Like in their other past attempts, they have failed, and Kenya remains unbowed.
There is a Quechan fable about a hummingbird named Dukdukdiya. During a fierce forest fire, while all other animals stood in stunned fear, Dukdukdiya alone took action by repeatedly carrying a single drop of water in her beak to the flames. When asked why she bothered with such paltry efforts, she replied that she was simply doing everything in her power to stop the fire.
The unusually hot summer of 2018 showed that climate change affects a central part of our lives: agriculture. The severe drought in Liechtenstein led to large losses in the hay harvest.
Record global greenhouse gas emissions are putting the world on a path toward unacceptable warming, with serious implications for development prospects in Africa. “Limiting warming to 1.5° C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, cochair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III.
It happened again and again in a career punctuated by upheavals: the peso crisis of 1994, the Asian crisis of 1997, and finally, the big one—the global financial crisis of 2008.
We all adhere to generalizations. For example, while reading and speaking about Muslims and Christians, sweeping opinions might easily become prejudices, particularily if we do not know any individual behind the labels. When I some years ago was working for a Malian NGO, I met a marabout and a Christian who proved that devotees to different religions might find mutual support in their individual beliefs.
Christmas is expected to be a peaceful celebration of the birth of Jesus. A time to express love and care for one another. Jesus preached love and compassion, but also told us to be suspicious of imposters: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep´s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves”. Wolves are predators who disregard the suffering of their victims. A human wolf is an egomaniac ready to maim and murder, either to please himself or his master, often deluding himself by imagining he serves a higher purpose.
The world’s political and economic elites, that will once again gather at the Swiss mountain resort of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) 22-25 January, have become all too predictable. It's not difficult to predict what they will say, because they always say what's in their interests.
The changing climate and extreme weather events are affecting agricultural productivity in Africa to such an extent that a panel of experts are urging governments to prioritise and invest in irrigation to ensure food security.
According to the Mexican Interior Ministry more than 7,000 Central American migrants have during the last month arrived at the US-Mexico border. Despite warnings by officials that they will face arrests, prosecution and deportation if they enter US territory, migrants state they intend to do so anyway, since they are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence. This is not new, in 1995 I visited Ixil and Ixcan, two Guatemalan areas mainly inhabited by Ixiles. My task was to analyse the impact of a regional development programme aimed at supporting post-conflict indigenous communities. United Nations has estimated that between 1960 and 1996 more than 245,000 people (mostly civilians) had been killed, or "disappeared" during Guatemalan internal conflicts, the vast majority of the killings were attributed to the army, or paramilitary groups.
As the United Nations climate conference nears an end, all eyes are on the negotiators who have been working day and night for the past two weeks to come up with a Rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement.
It is close to curtain call for the United Nations’ Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, with ministers from around the world negotiating the text for a “rulebook” to implement the historic 2015 Paris Agreement for climate action. Amidst the various issues being debated, one of the most technical and complicated is Article 6 of the agreement, which focuses on the country plans for climate action.
As thousands of environmental technocrats, policy makers and academics work round the clock to come up with strategies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change at the United Nations’ conference in Katowice, Poland, one scientist is asking Parties to consider massive bamboo farming as a simple but rapid way of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.