Economy & Trade

Taking Bangladesh to Zero-Leprosy, One New Case at a Time

Sandhya Mandal has never felt so vindicated. For the past four years, the 36-year-old community health worker from Meherpur – a rural district bordering India – has been traveling 50 km every day along dusty roads on an old motorbike, searching for leprosy patients who needed urgent treatment. But in her community, instead of compliments, neighbours and relatives raised questions about her work and her character. “They ask why I come home so late and what is this ‘work’ that I really do. Some even imply that I might be doing something like prostitution,” Mandal tells IPS.

Building Momentum to Hold Companies to Account

Millions of adults and children around the world suffer abuses as workers who obtain raw materials, toil on farms, and make products for the global market. They are at the bottom of global supply chains, for everything from everyday goods like vegetables and seafood to luxury items like jewelry and designer clothing that end up on store shelves worldwide.

Accelerating SDG Progress in Asia – Pacific

“The 2030 Agenda is coming to life”, declared the Secretary General at the opening of the first SDG Summit, a quadrennial event for the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As leaders from Asia – Pacific took the floor, they highlighted country progress of SDG implementation and reaffirmed commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Statements reflected different approaches across the region. Yet all converged on one priority: accelerated actions and transformative pathways.

Why Is Growth Slowing in China?

China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 14%. Since then, its growth rate has declined by more than half to 6.6% in 2018. The five-year moving average growth rate is at its lowest since reforms began in 1978, although annual growth briefly fell lower during 1989, the year of the Tian An Men incident.

South-South Cooperation Offers Solutions to Urgent Climate Challenges

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, and developing countries are recognized as hotspots for climatic risks. Through solidarity, peer-to-peer learning and collective self-reliance, developing countries are collaborating among themselves to address the threat.

Social Summit Demands Stronger Commitments in Climate Talks

As the COP25 deliberations enter the decisive final week, representatives of environmental and social organisations gathered in a parallel summit are pressing the governments to adopt stronger commitments in the face of a worsening climate emergency.

Fostering Sustainable Urbanization and Rural-Urban Linkages

As urbanization continues apace, coupled with rapid population growth and rural to urban migration, the challenges for inclusive rural transformation continue, and the importance of fostering improved rural-urban linkages for better food systems becomes increasingly important.. According to the UN, by 2050 some 66% of the world’s population of 9 billion is expected to live in urban areas. Such rapid urbanization is increasingly shaping the rural space and rural livelihoods (through markets, demand for agricultural goods and labour, migration, and through the provision of services to rural areas). It is therefore critical for the increasing emphasis on urban development to take into account the importance of rural development.

Saved Seeds are Seeds of Resilience

People have a right to define their own food system. This includes which seeds they use. Last week, farmers in Nakuru County, Kenya, celebrated the launch of “Ten rich, underutilized crops,” a publication and documentary that capture their efforts to promote and sustain the varieties they grow.

Gains and Losses of Irregular Migration

While opening a newspaper or watching a TV program we are every day made aware of the plights of irregular migrants. Some recent examples among many – on 24 October, 39 Chinese nationals were found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex. They had apparently frozen to death within a refrigerator container with temperatures as low as -25C (-13F). This while tragedies occur almost daily on the Mediterranean Sea. On 26 November, a rescue vessel found a boat almost completely sunken. It had three dead bodies aboard. Fifty-five migrants were saved. Three of them were in a critical condition, and one died after reaching Melilla in Spain, where the migrants were brought in. Three children were among the survivors, though a further ten individuals were reported missing. Nowadays, such news items pass by almost imperceptibly. Every day, thousands of unfortunate human beings are trafficked all over the world to suffer underpaid, hazardous work, or prostitution.

India’s Electric Mobility Needs Enabling Infrastructure to Pick up Speed

Dogged by intractable air pollution debilitating large northern swathes from mainly urban vehicle emissions, India earlier this year announced targets for a 40 percent non-fossil component in its fuel-mix by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Commitments (NDC) to the Paris accord on climate change. It aims for full electrification of public transit systems and of one-third private vehicles by 2030.

Sustainable Fisheries are Key in Addressing Food Security — and Women can Play an Important Role

Experts gathered in November to discuss the importance of sustainable fisheries and its role in eradicating world hunger at a fisheries symposium in Rome.

The Adaptive Age: No Institution or Individual can Stand on the Sidelines in the Fight Against Climate Change

When I think of the incredible challenges we must confront in the face of a changing climate, my mind focuses on young people. Eventually, they will be the ones either to enjoy the fruits or bear the burdens resulting from actions taken today.

Travel Tourism Must Transform to Survive, Thrive

The travel and tourism sector, with its significant economic and social benefits, has no choice but to transform to survive and thrive in the face of climate change, said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa at COP25 to industry representatives.

Fostering Jobs, Entrepreneurship, and Capacity Development for African Youth: The Time for Disruption Is Now!

“There is no greater asset to Africa than its youth,” a statement that has been repeatedly proclaimed, but the continent still has a long way to go. Despite robust economic growth over the past two decades, a 1 percent increase in growth between 2000–14 was associated with only 0.41 percent growth in employment. This figure suggests that employment stood at less than 1.8 percent a year, far below the nearly 3 percent annual growth in the labor force. If this trend continues, 100 million people will join the multitudes of the unemployed in Africa by 2030.

Indigenous Knowledge, a Lesson for a Sustainable Food Future

Local knowledge systems rooted in traditional practices and culture passed down generations provide sustainable solutions to food and nutritional insecurity on the back of climate change, a conference heard this week.

Fixing the Business of Food

Milan is the city where Leonardo da Vinci painted his iconic Last Supper. Frozen in time is the moment Christ told his disciples there was a traitor among them. Visitors to the painting can examine the expressions on the faces of the disciples and look the food they might have eaten – the bread and wine, and of course the spilt salt. As one delegate to the 10th International Forum on Food and Nutrition noted, the diet did not seem varied or healthy.

African Development Bank launches digital tool to help African youth learn to code

The African Development Bank and technology firm Microsoft today launched the ‘Coding for Employment’ digital training platform, an online tool to provide digital skills to African youth, wherever they are across the continent.

Zimbabwe Food Crisis: Time to Act Is Now, Says UN Special Rapporteur

Global food systems are ripe for transformation if people are to be nourished and the planet sustainable, says Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur of the Right to Food of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Tradition and Technology Take Centre Stage at BCFN Food Forum

A coffee producer will receive a cent and a half from a $2.50 cup of coffee. This one stark fact stood out as scientists, researchers, activists and grappled with solutions for change in food and nutrition practises, which would benefit the greater community.

Inequality and Its Many Discontents

Much recent unrest, such as the ‘yellow-vest’ protests in France and the US ‘Abolish the Super-Rich’ campaign, is not against inequality per se, but reflects perceptions of changing inequalities. Most citizens resent inequalities when it is not only unacceptably high, but also rising.

What Do We Want from Our Oceans?

This is a question we need to ask ourselves but before answering we need to acknowledge the diversity of expectations and aspirations that we all have for oceans, which cover more than two-thirds of the planet’s surface.

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