Five years ago, at the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations, world leaders adopted the ambitious Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The Agenda was to be accomplished through the achievement of 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030: eradicating poverty, ending hunger, addressing climate change – just to name a few.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not really like attending parliament – except on special occasions. Budget session was one such occasion. Unsurprisingly, he tried to reach out to farmers still protesting at the border of the capital Delhi, against his government’s new farm laws.
The White House, under the Presidency of Joe Biden just released an Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains
stating the country needs to have resilient, diverse and secure supply chains to ensure economic prosperity and national security. Among the acknowledged threats that can reduce the resilience of America’s supply chains include climate change and extreme weather events.
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador quietly rocked the agribusiness world with his New Year’s Eve decree to phase out use of the herbicide glyphosate and the cultivation of genetically modified corn. His administration sent an even stronger aftershock two weeks later, clarifying that the government would also phase out GM corn imports in three years and the ban would include not just corn for human consumption but yellow corn destined primarily for livestock. Under NAFTA, the United States has seen a 400% increase in corn exports to Mexico, the vast majority genetically modified yellow dent corn.
Every harvest season, Susan Zinoro, a mango farmer from Mutoko, Zimbabwe, buries half the mangoes she’s grown that season. They have already started rotting either on the tree or have fallen to the ground before harvest. It’s a difficult task for Zinoro because she knows she is throwing away food and income meant for her family.
Bangladeshis at the present time share a modicum of justifiable pride in the fact that the world merits this country worth watching in terms of its economic potentials. To my mind , we have reached this stage for the following reasons: First, effective utilization of early foreign assistance; second a steady ,albeit sustained, move away from a near -socialistic to an open and liberal economy; third , a shift from agriculture to manufacturing as land-space shrank to accommodate urbanization; fourth , an unleashing of remarkable entrepreneurial spirit among private sector captains of industry, as evidenced in the Ready Made Garments industry: fifth, the prevalence of a vibrant civil society intellectually aiding the social transformation with its focus on health, education, and gender issues: and finally ,a long period of political stability notwithstanding the traditional predilections of Bengali socio-political activism.
17 February - African smallholder farmers have no choice but to adapt to climate change: 2020 was the second hottest year on record, while prolonged droughts and explosive floods are directly threatening the livelihoods of millions. By the 2030s, lack of rainfall and rising temperatures could render 40 percent of Africa’s maize-growing area unsuitable for climate-vulnerable varieties grown by farmers, while maize remains the preferred and affordable staple food for millions of Africans who survive on less than a few dollars of income a day.
Raju Pandit Chhetri is one of the most acclaimed climate change policy experts in Nepal and South Asia. As Director of the Prakiriti Resource Centre, an action focused think tank based in Kathmandu, Pandit Cheetri shares his opinion on the latest climate focused policies being undertaken by the Government of Nepal, especially the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution NDC that was recently submitted by the Government.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on people with obesity
and noncommunicable diseases
such as diabetes. The pandemic has underlined the importance of the food environment
and healthy food intake
. It has shown the urgent need for effective policies to make sure that everyone can get enough nutritious food – and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Most beginnings are rocky and sometimes the obstacles seem insurmountable, before they are finally overcome. This was certainly the case for the Finca Marta, a farm in Cuba that had to begin by digging a well in search of water and with the hard-scrabble work of clearing an arid, stony and overgrown plot of land.
“This road is my home now and it will decide my future,” Sukhvinder Singh, a 27-year old farmer from the Moga district of Punjab, tells IPS. Last November, weeks after the government of India passed three farm bills he felt were anti-farmer, Singh travelled to Singhu, a village near Delhi, to demand the laws be repealed. Since then, he has been living in a tent he shares with five other fellow farmer-protesters.
Current development fads fetishize data, ostensibly for ‘evidence-based policy-making’: if not measured, it will not matter. So, forget about getting financial resources for your work, programmes and projects, no matter how beneficial, significant or desperately needed.
Located in Jonglei state, one of the most underdeveloped regions of South Sudan, Likuangole is a town badly hit by floods and often battered by conflict. Despite the lack of secondary schools and industry, its residents aspire to transform their lives. But real investment is needed to spur development.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and disrupted food systems and food supply chains in developed and developing countries alike. In the United States, millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table
. Around the world, according to the United Nations over 270 million are hungry
, and this is expected to continue to increase.
Once a year, on 9 August, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated, celebrating their unique culture and knowledge. This is done mostly from a distance, from our homes in (nominally) developed countries. But are we as developed as we pretend to be? On this question, I reflected for a while, still remembering a special and personal experience of having spent several days with an indigenous Berber family in Morocco.
Most people around the world were glad to see the back of 2020: From the devastating bushfires in Australia to the plagues of locusts through East Africa stretching across Arabia to Pakistan, extreme weather, melting ice sheets at the poles, and Covid-19 that still engulfs the globe.
Happy New Year, Kenya.
Several milestones in my personal and professional life have made Kenya a cherished place for me. I started my UNICEF career in Rumbek, South Sudan in June 2000, and my rest and recuperation breaks were in Nairobi. In fact Kenya was the first African country I had ever visited and, frankly, it was love at first sight.
Local communities in the vicinity of the abandoned Panguna copper mine, have taken decisive action to hold the global mining multinational, Rio Tinto, accountable for alleged environmental and human rights violations during the mine’s operations between 1972 and 1989.
Agricultural mechanisation is on the rise in Africa, replacing hand hoes and animal traction across the continent. While around 80-90%
of all farmers still rely on manual labour or draught animals, this is changing, driven by falling machinery prices and rising rural wages. During the last couple of years, tractor sales grew by around 10% annually
Cuisine formed a notable portion of the latest inscriptions on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, with hawker food in Singapore and couscous traditions in North Africa being celebrated.
Despite its grim record of multiple natural disasters and a deepening climate crisis, one could be forgiven for looking back on 2019 with a degree of nostalgia. There is no disguising the extent of the calamity wrought this year by COVID-19, yet as we approach the end of 2020 we may also draw strength from positive developments emerging.