Inter Press ServiceMultimedia – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Tue, 19 Jun 2018 18:06:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 VIDEO: World Day to Combat Desertification – Land Has True Value. Invest In Ithttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/06/world-day-combat-desertification-land-true-value-invest/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-day-combat-desertification-land-true-value-invest http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/06/world-day-combat-desertification-land-true-value-invest/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 09:25:16 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156195 This video is part of a series of stories and op-eds launched by IPS on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17

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World Day to Combat Desertification - Land Has True Value. Invest In It

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Jun 13 2018 (IPS)

We are witnessing the degradation of about 24% of the planet’s land, with water scarcity affecting almost 2 billion people on the planet.

Globally, 169 countries are affected by land degradation or drought, or both. Already average losses equal 9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) but for some of the worst affected countries, such as the Central African Republic, total losses are estimated at a staggering 40 percent of GDP. Asia and Africa bear the highest per year costs, estimated at 84 billion and 65 billion dollars, respectively.

 

 

Desertification entails losses of 42 billion dollars in annual global income, while actions to recover land cost between 40 and 350 dollars per hectare. The returns on investments in actions against degradation at the global level are four to six dollars for every dollar invested.

Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk
Dryland ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use.

Poverty, political instability, deforestation, over-grazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.

Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk. These people include many of the world’s poorest, most marginalized and politically weak citizens.

Since the year 2000, we have seen a substantial increase in migration forced by desertification: from 173 million people to 244 million people in only 15 years.

The 2018 World Day to Combat Desertification, focuses on how consumers can regenerate economies, create jobs and revitalize livelihoods and communities by influencing the market to invest in sustainable land management.

The day convenes under the slogan: “Land Has True Value. Invest In It,” to remind the world that land is a tangible asset with measurable value beyond just cash.

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Excerpt:

This video is part of a series of stories and op-eds launched by IPS on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17

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World Press Freedom Day 2018http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/world-press-freedom-day-2018/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-press-freedom-day-2018 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/world-press-freedom-day-2018/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 13:08:05 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155456 The theme for the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,” focussing on the importance of an enabling legal environment for press freedom, and gives attention to the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and prosecution of crimes […]

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World Press Freedom Day 2018

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Apr 25 2018 (IPS)

The theme for the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,” focussing on the importance of an enabling legal environment for press freedom, and gives attention to the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and prosecution of crimes against journalists..

Only 13% of the world population enjoys a free press, where coverage of politics is robust, the safety of journalists is guarateed, and state intrusion in media affairs is minimal. A partly free press to 42% of the world population. The remaining 45% lives in countries where a free press is non-existent (“New Report: Freedom of the Press 2017”). Political and economic transformations of some countries alongside their technological developments place new restrictions on press freedom.

 

 

Governments of these countries tend to implement restrictive laws and censorship on freedom of press, usually justifying these actions as a necessary tool for national security against terrorism. Apart from violating the right of freedom of expression, these restrictions place higher risks of violence, harassment and death on journalists.

Since the year 2000, annual incarceration of journalists has continued to increase globally, with many of them never seeing the inside of a courtroom.  In 2017, 81 journalists died whilst committed to their jobs – 66% of them were murdered.

According to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, violence and restrictions against media freedom has risen by 14% in the time period of 2012-2017. At the same time, since 2016, media freedom in countries where it was ranked as “good” decreased by 2.3%.

Among the countries that suffered the largest declines on the report’s 100-point scale in 2016 were Poland (6 points), Turkey (5), Burundi (5), Hungary (4), Bolivia (4), Serbia (4), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (4).

The world’s 10 worst-rated countries and territories were Azerbaijan, Crimea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Turkmenistan.

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We Are Migrants: Teasing Italian Taste Budshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/migrants-teasing-italian-taste-buds/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migrants-teasing-italian-taste-buds http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/migrants-teasing-italian-taste-buds/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:12:09 +0000 Maged Srour http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155397 Atik and Said have many things in common. They are both from Bangladesh, both are about the same age, in their thirties and, they are both migrant workers in an Italian restaurant in the heart of Rome, a stone’s throw from Saint Peter’s Basilica. They are not the only migrants working in the food service […]

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By Maged Srour
ROME, Apr 23 2018 (IPS)

Atik and Said have many things in common. They are both from Bangladesh, both are about the same age, in their thirties and, they are both migrant workers in an Italian restaurant in the heart of Rome, a stone’s throw from Saint Peter’s Basilica. They are not the only migrants working in the food service industry in Italy, where most of the pizza makers today are Egyptians and most of the Chefs are either Bangladeshis or North Africans. This is an interesting phenomenon in a country known for its cuisine where many of the Chefs today are not locals but foreigners.

The “culinary melting pot” Italy, after several years of decline in the food sector, has become a trendy sector for many young people who are attracted to food preparation as an art where talented young Chefs are commanding handsome wages amidst a growing sense of excitement about learning how to cook delicious, healthy dishes as highly qualified Chefs do. Not surprising at all, considering the importance of food in Italian culture. It is surprising though that despite increased interest of the younger generation of Italians in the art of cooking, restaurant kitchens are seeing greater numbers of migrant workers as Chefs and sous Chefs and helpers, considering especially that these are not “undesirable” jobs any longer, such as that of a farmer (mainly because the latter is considered to be more labour intensive).

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) estimates that there are 132,397 Bangladeshi migrants regularly residing in Italy (January 2017). Among these migrants, the rate of employment is 63.8%, which is definitely a positive asset for them and for the Italian economy, that is still suffering from the financial crisis of the past recent years.

This IPS correspondent sat down with Atik and Said at the restaurant where they work, near the Vatican. The two Bangladeshis opened up and shared their stories about how they entered Italy, a typical day at work for them, what they like and what they don’t like in their new country of residence and about their families they left behind.

In response to most questions both Atik and Said had similar views . When asked if they wish to open up their own businesses like several returning migrants have done in Bangladesh or in Italy, Atik and Said said almost in chorus, “It depends on if we are able to reach a certain level of expertise to run a restaurant on our own. If we can we would certainly consider that” said Atik. Both of them stressed that they would need a lot of financial resources to do that and, since they are regularly sending money back to their families in Bangladesh and they also have their own expenditures in Italy, they cannot think of investing in their own entrepreneurial projects now, but maybe in five to ten years from now after they have saved substantial sums, the idea could be feasible. Indeed, many Bangladeshis in Italy have set up small and medium sized enterprises such as grocery shops, internet points and cafes which are sustainable and profitable at the same time.

“I always miss my family even though I hear from them every single day” stated Said. “I speak to them at least two or three times a day” he added. “When I have a call with my family” said Atik “either with a video call on Skype or not, they always cry, always”. When asked if he cries as well, he hessitated for a moment and said “In front of them, I compose myself and I don’t cry, but when I am alone, it turns to be ‘heart-wrenching’ for me”. Atik added that being the only child it is very difficult for his patents not to have him with them especially during the many festivities.

Said spoke about his wife and a one year old child who live with his parents back home. While they are well looked after, it is not an ideal situation to be so far away from his dear ones. However, he emphasized that he is fortunate, unlike many others without jobs . His job is enabling him to build a sustainable future for his family and he thinks it is worth the sacrifice. And, after so many years in this country he has come to like living in Italy and says that he doesn’t have any complaints. Atik stated that he is grateful for what he has learned and that every day, he learns the best aspects of Italian cooking that is renowned for its healthy aspects. Both Atik and Said could not find anything negative to say when asked what they did not like about living in Italy. They expressed concern for their other country folks in Italy who are without jobs and hoped that they would soon find employment as it is very hard to live without any income especially when their families back home are relying on their remittances.

Both Atik and Said entered Italy from France where they arrived about a decade ago on tourist and student visas. Once in italy, both were able to find jobs with help and guidance from other Bangladeshis who were already here and as a result of them being employed, their documents to live in Italy were processed in a reasonable amount of time.

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) estimates that there are 132,397 Bangladeshi migrants regularly residing in Italy (January 2017). Among these migrants, the rate of employment is 63.8%, which is definitely a positive asset for them and for the Italian economy, that is still suffering from the financial crisis of the past recent years.

At a recent event on the occasion of the 47th year of independence celebration in Rome, the Ambassador of Bangladesh to Italy, Abdus Sobhan Sikder, highlighted the contribution of Bangladeshi migrants in Italy and thanked the Italian government for accommodating the large numbers, adding that their contribution to Italian society as a group of hard working people is well recognised and respected by the Italians.

These migrants send substantial remittances to their home country while at the same time they contribute significantly as migrant workers in the host country, where many job fields are not attractive to Italian youth. It is therefore a win win for both countries. It is undeniable that the Bangladeshi migrants have become a pillar for the Italian economy.

Valerio Mattaccini, head Chef at the restaurant where Atik and Said work states, “These are two people of great moral substance and integrity. Anyone would love to have them in their team; their contribution is measured not only in terms of the day to day regular activities they are involved in, such as preparing the ingredients for the day’s menu or setting up everything for the service, Atik and Said are incredibly dedicated and work with others demonstrating respect for all. They are very appreciative of the opportunity to learn through work and have deep esteem for the society they have embraced to live in. They are key pillars of the restaurant. I am so pleased to see how quickly they have learned, especially all the secrets of Italian cuisine ! I should thank them for their commitment and the collaboration they extend every single day”.

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World Autism Awareness Day 2018http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/world-autism-awareness-day-2018/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-autism-awareness-day-2018 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/world-autism-awareness-day-2018/#respond Wed, 28 Mar 2018 20:17:25 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155070 Autism Spectrum Disorder is a name that covers a range of similar disorders affecting a person’s interaction, communication and behaviour. Asperger Syndrome is included in this range. Its causes remain unknown, but one in sixty-eight children are diagnosed with ASD, and these numbers are on the rise globally. This year, World Autism Awareness Day will […]

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World Autism Awareness Day 2018

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Mar 28 2018 (IPS)

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a name that covers a range of similar disorders affecting a person’s interaction, communication and behaviour.

Asperger Syndrome is included in this range.

Its causes remain unknown, but one in sixty-eight children are diagnosed with ASD, and these numbers are on the rise globally.

This year, World Autism Awareness Day will be observed at the United Nations with particular emphasis on the importance of empowering women and girls with Autism.

In a world where gender imbalances are pervasive, women and girls with disabilities experience gender-base violence, abuse and socio-economic marginalization at disproportionately higher rates.

World Autism Awareness Day is our opportunity to enable them with a humanity that is often lost in today’s modern world.

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World Water Day – Nature for Waterhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/world-water-day-22-march/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-water-day-22-march http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/world-water-day-22-march/#respond Mon, 19 Mar 2018 11:22:45 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154882 The UN General Assembly will launch the International Decade for Action: Water for sustainable development (2018-2028) on World Water Day, 22 March 2018. According to UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak, outlining his priorities for 2018, the event will “contribute to the review of SDG 6” during the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable […]

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World Water Day

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Mar 19 2018 (IPS)

The UN General Assembly will launch the International Decade for Action: Water for sustainable development (2018-2028) on World Water Day, 22 March 2018. According to UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak, outlining his priorities for 2018, the event will “contribute to the review of SDG 6” during the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

This year’s theme Nature for Water explores how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises we see around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.

When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder to provide everyone with the water we need to survive and thrive.

Nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. We need to do so much more with ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible. Planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 – includes a target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.

World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water – the UN’s inter-agency collaboration mechanism for all freshwater related issues – in collaboration with governments and partners.

 

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Wake Up And Stop Rohingya Abuseshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/wake-stop-rohingya-abuses/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wake-stop-rohingya-abuses http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/wake-stop-rohingya-abuses/#respond Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:32:58 +0000 Staff Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154518 “This is clearly, clearly, clearly genocide that is going on by the Burmese government and military against the Rohingya people."
 

Mairead Maguire
 

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Nobel Peace laureates -- Yemen's Tawakkol Karman and Northern Ireland's Mairead Maguire -- in tears hearing the harrowing tales of Rohingya refugees at Thyangkhali camp in Ukhia yesterday. Photo: Video grab

By Staff Correspondent
Feb 27 2018 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

No one would realise better than a woman how it feels when a child is snatched away from the arms of a mother and slaughtered, a man is murdered before the eyes of his wife, or a girl is raped.

That is what happened to countless Rohingya women back in Rakhine State of Myanmar.

As three Nobel laureates listened to such harrowing tales of tortured women and children one by one in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, they could not hold tears back.

The trio, all of them mother themselves, then urged Myanmar’s de facto leader and their fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out about violence against the Rohingyas, often dubbed one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

They implored her to “wake up” to the brutalities, warning she otherwise risks prosecution for “genocide”.

The three Nobel Peace Prize winners — Tawakkol Karman, Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire — demanded those responsible for the atrocities in Rakhine should be hauled to the International Criminal Court.

“We appeal to Aung San Suu Kyi, our sister laureate. Think of your children being pulled off your arms, because you are a mother, and massacred and villages burnt,” said Maguire, who is from Northern Ireland.

“Don’t deny the Rohingya people their right to life,” she said in an emotion-choked voice after listening to the Rohingya women at Thyangkhali refugee camp in Ukhia of Cox’s Bazar yesterday.

A violent military crackdown launched last August sent 700,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh, sparking an unprecedented humanitarian emergency in the border district where the refugees are now sheltered in teeming, squalid camps.

Accounts of mass killing, rape, looting, burning of villages and shooting of civilians kept coming with the refugees over the months, while global condemnation poured in for the army campaign which the UN termed a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing”.

Nobel Peace Laureate from Northern Ireland Mairead Maguire talking to a Rohingya refugee during her visit to Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia on Sunday. Photo: AFP/collected

Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman said it is time Aung San Suu Kyi woke up, or she will be one of the perpetrators of the crime.

“If she could not stop all this crime, she has to resign now. It is very important,” she said, adding Suu Kyi otherwise could be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court.

“We, women Nobel laureates, call for those criminals prosecuted at the ICC … so we don’t expect our sister Aung San Suu Kyi to be one of them in the future. If she will continue her silence, she will be one of them.”

The Nobel laureates came to Bangladesh on Saturday and began a visit to the Rohingya camps to assess the allegations of violence against Rohingya women and the overall refugee situation.

The Nobel Women’s Initiative, a platform of six female peace laureates established in 2006, is organising the visit in partnership with Naripokkho. On Sunday, they visited the refugee camps in Kutupalang and Balukhali.

They held a meeting with Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Abul Kalam in Cox’s Bazar yesterday morning and visited the refugee camps in Thyangkhali.

The three laureates, who all through their lives have fought for human rights and democracy, expressed their anger at the inaction of world leaders over the Myanmar crisis.

The UN Security Council discussed the Rohingya issue several times but failed to take any concrete action against Myanmar that had denied the minority people citizenship and rights to education, movement, healthcare etc.

The Rohingyas have been fleeing since 1980s and the latest influx that began on August 25 last year is the largest, raising the number of refugees in Bangladesh to over a million.

In the first 10 days of this month, about 1,500 Rohingya crossed over from Myanmar.

‘CLEARLY GENOCIDE’

“Every single woman we met said they were raped, they lost families. One woman’s baby was taken off and butchered by the Myanmar soldiers. This is clearly clearly clearly genocide that is going on by the Burmese government and military against the Rohingya people,” added Maguire.

Terming it an orchestrated attempt to remove the Rohingyas out of Myanmar and out of history, she said the Nobel laureates reject the genocide policy of Myanmar.

“We reject this genocide policy of the Burmese government. They will be taken to the ICC and those who are committing genocide will be held responsible.

“As a human family, we cannot allow genocide of a whole people. The world must act,” said Maguire, who spent her life in bearing witness to oppression and standing in solidarity with people living in conflicts.

“We have, as a human family, to remove impunity because a people and military think they can kill and slaughter little children because this is a slaughtering way of allegiance in a massive massive scale. Where is our world going?”

An official briefing the three female Nobel Peace laureates — Iran’s Shirin Ebadi (left), Mairead Maguire and Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman — as they visit the Thyangkhali camp yesterday. Photo: AFP/collected

She further said, “The international community has to say enough is enough and we all have to raise our voices and not remain any more silent.”

Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman said the Rohingyas are really facing genocide, a massacre, but the international community has “disappeared”.

“It is shame for all of us, for the international community that they are silent in front of the genocide,” she said, calling for the perpetrators of the crimes to be held accountable and tried at the international court.

The first Arab woman to win Nobel Peace Prize, Karman said the sufferings of the Rohingyas have been going on for decades under the eyes of the world.

“Now we are seeing an ethnic cleansing. That’s shameful with the world, shameful that these women have been raped and their children slaughtered. The worst crime is that they have been displaced from their homes, their country.

“Now this is a real real appeal to the international community, the UN and the Security Council to wake up. It is the time now to wake up.”

Later, Karman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation she had spoken to 15 women who said their husbands and some of their children had been killed, and they had been raped repeatedly by soldiers.

“You can’t imagine what we heard today,” said Karman, who won Nobel Peace in 2011 for her nonviolent struggle for the safety of women rights and peace-building in Yemen.

Iran’s Shirin Ebadi said that as members of international community it is their upmost demand Myanmar military be taken to the International Court of Justice.

“We are all paving the way for that,” said Ebadi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for promoting human rights, in particular the rights of the women, children and political prisoners.

Meanwhile, she said, Rohingya refugees are still coming into Bangladesh that must stop because it is not good for the minority group and it also creates intense pressure on the people of Bangladesh.

The Nobel laureates expressed gratitude to Bangladesh government and people for their generosity in hosting the refugees, and urged the UN and international community to ensure the Rohingyas have basic needs and services.

“We are with you, with Bangladeshi people,” said Karman.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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Excerpt:

“This is clearly, clearly, clearly genocide that is going on by the Burmese government and military against the Rohingya people."
 

Mairead Maguire
 

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Nobel Women Laureates at Zero Point with Rohingya Refugeeshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/nobel-women-laureates-zero-point-rohingya-refugees/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nobel-women-laureates-zero-point-rohingya-refugees http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/nobel-women-laureates-zero-point-rohingya-refugees/#respond Tue, 27 Feb 2018 09:47:19 +0000 NOBEL WOMENS INITIATIVE http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154539 Nobel Laureates, Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland), Shirin Ebadi (Iran) and Tawakkol Karman (Yemen) speak to Rohingya refugees stranded in the no-man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh. They promise to seek justice for the Rohingya genocide.

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Mairead Maguire and Tawakkol Karman meet refugees in Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp February 25, 2018 in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by Allison Joyce. Courtesy Allison Joyce for Nobel Women's Initiative.

Mairead Maguire and Tawakkol Karman meet refugees in Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp February 25, 2018 in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by Allison Joyce. Courtesy Allison Joyce for Nobel Women's Initiative.

By NOBEL WOMEN'S INITIATIVE
ZERO POINT, Myanmar-Bangladesh border, Feb 27 2018 (IPS)

Nobel Laureates, Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland), Shirin Ebadi (Iran) and Tawakkol Karman (Yemen) speak to Rohingya refugees stranded in the no-man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh. They promise to seek justice for the Rohingya genocide.

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Inspiring Dutch Woman Lives for Bangladeshi Children with Disabilitieshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/inspiring-dutch-woman-lives-bangladeshi-children-disabilities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=inspiring-dutch-woman-lives-bangladeshi-children-disabilities http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/02/inspiring-dutch-woman-lives-bangladeshi-children-disabilities/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:42:18 +0000 Khalid Hussain http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154447 Meet Antoinette Termoshuizen, a Dutch woman more popularly known as ‘Khalamma’, who has spent the last 20 years of her life making life better for children with disabilities in Bangladesh. This is the amazing story of Antoinette, now living in Ghior of Manikganj, where she has been relentlessly helping to educate and rehabilitate children with […]

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By Khalid Hussain Ayon
Feb 21 2018 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

Meet Antoinette Termoshuizen, a Dutch woman more popularly known as ‘Khalamma’, who has spent the last 20 years of her life making life better for children with disabilities in Bangladesh.

This is the amazing story of Antoinette, now living in Ghior of Manikganj, where she has been relentlessly helping to educate and rehabilitate children with physical and mental challenges.

She started off in 1998, under the banner of Niketan, with 10 physically and mentally challenged children. Since then on, in the road down to 20 years, her programme in Dhaka and Manikganj has become home to more than 500 disabled children.

Watch the Star Live video to know about her story.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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Shakrain: The Festival of Kite, Light and Firehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/shakrain-festival-kite-light-fire/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=shakrain-festival-kite-light-fire http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/shakrain-festival-kite-light-fire/#respond Sun, 21 Jan 2018 15:45:16 +0000 Ananta Yusuf and Khalid Hussain http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154277 Have you ever seen Dhaka’s sky flooded with kites, lights and fireworks? This year the celebration of Poush Sankranti (the end of Bengali month Poush) popularly known as Shakrain or Ghuri Utshob brings life to the most congested part of the Old Dhaka. In recent times, apart from colourful kites flying in the sky, people […]

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By Ananta Yusuf and Khalid Hussain Ayon
Jan 21 2018 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

Have you ever seen Dhaka’s sky flooded with kites, lights and fireworks?

This year the celebration of Poush Sankranti (the end of Bengali month Poush) popularly known as Shakrain or Ghuri Utshob brings life to the most congested part of the Old Dhaka.

In recent times, apart from colourful kites flying in the sky, people are also entertained by fire-spinners and flame-eaters who also gather on rooftops to demonstrate their skills.

To know more watch our Star Live video on Shakrain.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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SLIDESHOW: Tales of the 21st Century – Rohingyas Without a Statehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/153539/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=153539 http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/153539/#comments Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:42:36 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153539 IPS journalists have been reporting from the camp areas within Bangladesh. They have met and spoken to many Rohingya families and learned first-hand what happened to them - the women, children and men - and what their hopes are for the future. Our journalists captured images from far and wide that reflect the agony and fears of the Rohingya who are living in dismal conditions.

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A partial top view of Balukhali and Kutupalong camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

A partial top view of Balukhali and Kutupalong camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

By IPS World Desk
COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Dec 14 2017 (IPS)

The world has witnessed innumerable images of the long walk to ‘freedom’ of Rohingya women, children and men. Some trudged for endless hours and days, many carrying elderly parents and babies in baskets, with the women suffering the unimaginable trauma having been victims of rape, torture and harassment.

Some of them took boats and drowned, others floated their children in oil drums, not knowing how to swim. They fled their burning homes in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, crossing over to Bangladesh, stateless, homeless and hopeless.

These images, which spoke a thousand words, shocked the world. The United Nations described the tragedy as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. Over 600,000 Rohingya are now in living in camps Bangladesh, cared for by local and international NGOs, United Nations organizations such as IOM and government entities.

What lies at the root of this humanitarian crisis? Why have so many people been forced to flee their homeland? The exodus began in August after Myanmar’s security forces responded to Rohingya militant activities with brutality.

The Rohingya tragedy has been unfolding for decades, going back to 1948, when Myanmar gained independence. As the Rohingya felt insecure and feared genocide, amid growing international concern, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was appointed by the Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi to find ways to heal simmering divisions between the Rohingya and Buddhists.

In its final report, the commission urged Myanmar to lift restrictions on movement and to provide citizenship rights for the Rohingya in order to avoid fuelling ‘extremism’ in Rakhine state.

So, what must be done? While there are no simple solutions, Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a deal for the possible repatriation of Rohingya Muslims. The question now is can they safely return to their lands and homes – many of which were burned to the ground – and live as free people with the same rights accorded to Myanmar’s Buddhist majority?

 

A partial top view of Balukhali and Kutupalong camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

A partial top view of Balukhali and Kutupalong camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

A group of Rohingya children emerge from a nearby religious school in Kutupalong camp. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

A group of Rohingya children emerge from a nearby religious school in Kutupalong camp. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

Rohingya women at Kutupalong camp. There are now over a million refugees in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

Rohingya women at Kutupalong camp. There are now over a million refugees in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

A Rohingya woman at Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

A Rohingya woman at Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

A Rohingya woman and child at Kutupalong camp, about 35 km from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

A Rohingya woman and child at Kutupalong camp, about 35 km from Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

A dysfunctional tubewell in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

A dysfunctional tubewell in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

 

Rohingya women line up for aid. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

Rohingya women line up for aid. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

 

Rohingya women line up for food rations at Leda camp in Cox's Bazar. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

Rohingya women line up for food rations at Leda camp in Cox’s Bazar. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

 

Cotton used for menstruation dried on roofs of shacks in Kutupalong Camp. Credit: Umer AIman Khan/IPS

Cotton used for menstruation dried on roofs of shacks in Kutupalong Camp. Credit: Umer AIman Khan/IPS

 

Rohingya women of Balukhali camp embarking on the trek to the toilets. Credit: Umer Aiman Khan/IPS

Rohingya women of Balukhali camp embarking on the trek to the toilets. Credit: Umer Aiman Khan/IPS

 

 

Girls taking religious education lessons at a Madrasah in the camps. Credit: Kamrul Hasan/IPS

Girls taking religious education lessons at a Madrasah in the camps. Credit: Kamrul Hasan/IPS

 

Newborn children in the Rohingya refugee camps. Credit: Umer Aiman Khan/IPS

Newborn children in the Rohingya refugee camps. Credit: Umer Aiman Khan/IPS

 

A Rohingya woman and her child at a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Kamrul Hasan/IPS

A Rohingya woman and her child at a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Credit: Kamrul Hasan/IPS

 

Two Rohingya children carries firewood crossing Tamru canal that has divided Bangladesh and Myanmar along Bangladesh's Naikhong chhari border in Bandarban district. Several thousand Rohingya people are still staying i no man's land along Naikhongchhari border. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

Two Rohingya children carry firewood crossing Tamru canal that has divided Bangladesh and Myanmar along Bangladesh’s Naikhong chhari border in Bandarban district. Several thousand Rohingya people are still staying i no man’s land along Naikhongchhari border.
Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

A Rohingya boy shows his Myanmar currency at Shahparir Dwip in Cox's Bazar. Credit: Farid Ahmed / IPS

A Rohingya boy shows his Myanmar currency at Shahparir Dwip in Cox’s Bazar. Credit: Farid Ahmed / IPS

 

Rubina (extreme left) along with her friend at the Islamic School at Kutupalong camp, home to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

Rubina (far left) along with her friend at the Islamic School at Kutupalong camp, home to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

A Rohingya couple, Mohammad Faisal and his wife Hajera, pose for a photo with their child at their camp at Teknaf Nature's Park, Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

A Rohingya couple, Mohammad Faisal and his wife Hajera, pose for a photo with their child at their camp at Teknaf Nature’s Park, Bangladesh. Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS

 

The series of reports from the border areas of Myanmar and Bangladesh is supported by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)

The post SLIDESHOW: Tales of the 21st Century – Rohingyas Without a State appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

IPS journalists have been reporting from the camp areas within Bangladesh. They have met and spoken to many Rohingya families and learned first-hand what happened to them - the women, children and men - and what their hopes are for the future. Our journalists captured images from far and wide that reflect the agony and fears of the Rohingya who are living in dismal conditions.

The post SLIDESHOW: Tales of the 21st Century – Rohingyas Without a State appeared first on Inter Press Service.

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VIDEO: The Rohingyas ‘Long March to Freedom’http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/rohingyas-long-march-freedom/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rohingyas-long-march-freedom http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/rohingyas-long-march-freedom/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:14:30 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153518 Over 800 000 of the 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state in Myanmar have been on the run for years, fleeing by foot, walking for days at end to seek a safe place for their women and children. Described as ‘wretched of the earth’ they are unwanted in Myanmar and across the border […]

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The Rohingyas ‘long march to freedom’

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Dec 13 2017 (IPS)

Over 800 000 of the 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state in Myanmar have been on the run for years, fleeing by foot, walking for days at end to seek a safe place for their women and children.

Described as ‘wretched of the earth’ they are unwanted in Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh where they have have taken shelter.

Although their origins trace back to the Eighth century Arakan, where their ancestors were British subjects over the past seven decades they have lived lives of lesser human beings in the Rakhine state. Rohingyas are stateless today. Driven out of their homes, their ‘long march to freedom’ leaves them in a state of hopelessness.

 

 

As the Rohingyas fled their burning homes, images of violence against them showed how one-day old twins were being transported to safety in a coir basket while in another image a rickety son carried in baskets hanging at two ends of a bamboo pole his too-frail-to-walk parents. He had fear in his eyes but he did not abandon his parents only to protect only himself; he is a hero.

The speed and scale of the influx has made the Rohingya crisis the world’s gravest refugee crisis and a major humanitarian emergency, the largest and fastest flow of destitute people across a border since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

With each passing day, the numbers are increasing and the government of Bangladesh, local charities and volunteers, the United Nations and NGOs are working in overdrive to provide assistance and hope.

Is there an end in sight ? The origin of the crisis and thus the solution to this crisis lies with the authorities in Myanmar. Can world leaders, Nobel laureates and citizens around the world bring about an end to the human rights violations against the Rohingyas?

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SLIDESHOW: Two Models of Development in Struggle Coexist in Brazil’s Semi-arid Regionhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/slideshow-two-models-development-struggle-coexist-brazils-semi-arid-region/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=slideshow-two-models-development-struggle-coexist-brazils-semi-arid-region http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/slideshow-two-models-development-struggle-coexist-brazils-semi-arid-region/#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 15:21:22 +0000 Fabiana Frayssinet http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153494 Irrigated green fields of vineyards and monoculture crops coexist in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast with dry plains dotted with flowering cacti and native crops traditionally planted by the locals. Two models of development in struggle, with very different fruits. On his 17-hectare farm in Canudos, in the state of Bahia, João Afonso Almeida grows vegetables, sorghum, […]

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Thanks to simple rainwater harvesting techniques, Almeida has managed to live harmoniously with the local ecosystem. “This is a water harvesting ‘calçadão’ (embankment), the water goes to the tank-calçadão that has a capacity to store 52,000 litres. We use it to water the garden. It provides an income for the families,”

Thanks to simple rainwater harvesting techniques, Almeida has managed to live harmoniously with the local ecosystem. “This is a water harvesting ‘calçadão’ (embankment), the water goes to the tank-calçadão that has a capacity to store 52,000 litres. We use it to water the garden. It provides an income for the families,”

By Fabiana Frayssinet
CANUDOS, Brazil, Nov 9 2017 (IPS)

Irrigated green fields of vineyards and monoculture crops coexist in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast with dry plains dotted with flowering cacti and native crops traditionally planted by the locals. Two models of development in struggle, with very different fruits.

On his 17-hectare farm in Canudos, in the state of Bahia, João Afonso Almeida grows vegetables, sorghum, passion fruit (Passiflora edulis), palm trees, citrus and forage plants.

 

João Afonso stands amidst his watermelons and other forage plants on his farm in the municipality of Canudos, in the state of Bahia, in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast. Thanks to water and soil management techniques, the droughts are not so hard on him, his crops or his animals. Credit: Gonzalo Gaudenzi / IPS

João Afonso stands amidst his watermelons and other forage plants on his farm in the municipality of Canudos, in the state of Bahia, in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast. Thanks to water and soil management techniques, the droughts are not so hard on him, his crops or his animals. Credit: Gonzalo Gaudenzi / IPS

 

Between the rows, cactus plants grow to feed his goats and sheep, such as guandú (Cajanus cajan), wild watermelon, leucaena and mandacurú (Cereus jamacaru).

 

The earth is dry and dusty in the Caatinga, an ecosystem exclusive to Brazil’s semiarid region, where droughts can last for years, alternating with periods of annual rainfall of 200 to 800 mm, along with high evaporation rates.

The earth is dry and dusty in the Caatinga, an ecosystem exclusive to Brazil’s semiarid region, where droughts can last for years, alternating with periods of annual rainfall of 200 to 800 mm, along with high evaporation rates.

 

But thanks to simple rainwater harvesting techniques, Almeida has managed to live harmoniously with the local ecosystem.

“This is a water harvesting ‘calçadão’ (embankment),” he told IPS, showing a tank installed with the help of the Regional Institute for Appropriate Small Farming (IRPAA), which is part of the Networking in Brazil’s Semiarid Region (ASA) movement, along with another 3,000 social organisations.

“The water goes to the tank-calçadão that has a capacity to store 52,000 litres. We use it to water the garden. It provides an income for the families,” he added.

For domestic consumption, he has a 16,000-litre tank that collects rainwater from the roof of his house through gutters and pipes.

 

ASA has installed one million tanks for family consumption and 250,000 for small agricultural facilities in the semiarid Northeast.

ASA has installed one million tanks for family consumption and 250,000 for small agricultural facilities in the semiarid Northeast.

 

Almeida uses an “enxurrada” (flow) tank, and an irrigation system for his citrus trees, which through a narrow pipe irrigates the roots without wasting water. He also opted for plants native to the Caatinga that adapt naturally to the local climate and soil conditions.

“Production has improved a great deal, we work less and have better results. And we also conserve the Caatinga ecosystem. I believed in this, while many people did not, and thank God because we sleep well even though we’ve already had three years of drought,” he said.

In the past, droughts used to kill in this region. Between 1979 and 1983, drought caused up to one million deaths, and drove a mass exodus to large cities due to thirst and hunger.

 

Part of the extensive vineyards of the Especial Fruit company in the São Francisco River valley, where irrigation projects have made it possible to grow fruit on a large scale for export, in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet / IPS

Part of the extensive vineyards of the Especial Fruit company in the São Francisco River valley, where irrigation projects have made it possible to grow fruit on a large scale for export, in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet / IPS

 

“The farm used to be far from any source of water. We had to walk two to three kilometers, setting out early with buckets,” he recalled.

The droughts did not end but they no longer produce deaths among the peasants of Brazil’s semiarid Northeast, a region that is home to some 23 million of Brazil’s 208 million people.

This was thanks to the strategy of “coexistence with the semiarid”, promoted by ASA, in contrast with the historical policies of the “drought industry”, which exploited the tragedy, charging high prices for water or exchanging it for votes, distributing water in tanker trucks.

 

Thanks to simple rainwater harvesting techniques, Almeida has managed to live harmoniously with the local ecosystem. “This is a water harvesting ‘calçadão’ (embankment), the water goes to the tank-calçadão that has a capacity to store 52,000 litres. We use it to water the garden. It provides an income for the families,”

Thanks to simple rainwater harvesting techniques, Almeida has managed to live harmoniously with the local ecosystem. “This is a water harvesting ‘calçadão’ (embankment), the water goes to the tank-calçadão that has a capacity to store 52,000 litres. We use it to water the garden. It provides an income for the families” Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet / IPS

 

“Coexistence with the semiarid ecosystem is something completely natural that actually people around the world have done in relation to their climates. The Eskimos coexist with the icy Arctic climate, the Tuareg (nomads of the Sahara desert) coexist with the desert climate,” the president of the IRPAA, Harold Schistek, told IPS in his office in the city of Juazeiro, in the Northeast state of Bahía.

“What we have done is simply to read nature. Observing how plants can survive for eight months without rain, and how animals adapt to drought, and drawing conclusions for how people should do things. It is not about technology or books. It is simply observation of nature applied to human action,” he explained.

The “coexistence” is based on respecting the ecosystem and reviving traditional agricultural practices.

The basic principle is to store up in preparation for drought – everything from water to native seeds, and fodder for goats and sheep, the most resistant species.

The fruits are seen in the Cooperative of Farming Families from Canudos and Curaçá (Coopercuc), made up of about 250 families from those municipalities in the state of Bahía.

 

Almeida uses an “enxurrada” (flow) tank, and an irrigation system for his citrus trees, which through a narrow pipe irrigates the roots without wasting water. He also opted for plants native to the Caatinga that adapt naturally to the local climate and soil conditions.

Almeida uses an “enxurrada” (flow) tank, and an irrigation system for his citrus trees, which through a narrow pipe irrigates the roots without wasting water. He also opted for plants native to the Caatinga that adapt naturally to the local climate and soil conditions. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet / IPS

 

“We’re not only concerned with making a profit but also with the sustainable use of the raw materials of the Caatinga. For example, the harvest of the ombú (Phytolacca dioica) used to be done in a very harmful way, swinging the tree to make the fruit fall,” Coopercuc vice-president José Edimilson Alves told IPS.

Now, he said, “we instruct the members of the cooperative to collect the fruit by hand, and to avoid breaking the branches. We also do not allow native wood or living plants to be extracted.”

 

Coopercuc, which Almeida is a member of, has an industrial plant in Uauá, where they make jellies and jams with fruits of the Caaatinga, such as umbú (Spondias tuberosa) and passion fruit, with pulps processed in mini-factories run by the cooperative members.

Coopercuc, which Almeida is a member of, has an industrial plant in Uauá, where they make jellies and jams with fruits of the Caaatinga, such as umbú (Spondias tuberosa) and passion fruit, with pulps processed in mini-factories run by the cooperative members.

 

The cooperative sells its products, free of agrochemicals, to large Brazilian cities and has exported to France and Austria.

“This proposal shows that it is possible to live, and with a good quality of life, in the semiarid region,” said Alves.

 

Coopercuc vice-president José Edimilson Alves. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet / IPS

Coopercuc vice-president José Edimilson Alves. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet / IPS

 

This reality exists in the 200,000-hectare fruit-growing area of the São Francisco River valley, located between the municipalities of Petrolina (state of Pernambuco) and Juazeiro. Government incentives and irrigation techniques favoured the installation of agribusiness in the area.

According to the State Development Company of the Valleys of São Francisco and Parnaíba, fruit growers in the area generate over 800 million dollars a year, and provide about 100,000 jobs.

“It is estimated that this use of irrigation represents 80 percent of all uses of the basin. But we have to consider that the collection of water for these projects promotes the economic and social development of our region by generating employment and revenues, through the export of fresh and canned fruit to Europe and the United States,” explained the company’s manager, Joselito Menezes.

 

The company Especial Fruit, which has about 3,000 hectares in the valley and 2,200 workers, produces thousands of tons of grapes and mangos every year, which are exported mostly to the United States, Argentina and Chile, along with a smaller volume of melons, for the local market.

The company Especial Fruit, which has about 3,000 hectares in the valley and 2,200 workers, produces thousands of tons of grapes and mangos every year, which are exported mostly to the United States, Argentina and Chile, along with a smaller volume of melons, for the local market.

 

“All the irrigation is done with the drip system, since good management of water is very important due to the limitations of water resources,” the company’s president Suemi Koshiyama told IPS.

He explained that “The furrow irrigation system only takes advantage of 40 percent of the water, and spray irrigation makes use of 60 percent, compared to 85 percent for drip irrigation.”

“The region that has the least water is the one that uses the most. Thousands of litres are used to produce crops, so when the region exports it is also exporting water and minerals from the soil, especially with sugarcane,” said Moacir dos Santos, an expert at the IRPAA.

“In a region with very little water and fertile soil, we have to question the validity of this. The scarce water should be used to produce food, in a sustainable manner,” he told IPS.

According to ASA, one and a half million farm families have only 4.2 percent of the arable land in the semiarid region, while 1.3 percent of the agro-industrial farms of over 1,000 hectares occupy 38 percent of the lands.

“Family farmers produce the food. Agribusiness produces commodities. And although it has a strong impact on the trade balance, at a local level, family farming actually supplies the economy,” dos Santos said.

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Semaine mondiale de la croissance verte (GGGW)http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/semaine-mondiale-de-la-croissance-verte-gggw/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=semaine-mondiale-de-la-croissance-verte-gggw http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/semaine-mondiale-de-la-croissance-verte-gggw/#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 13:11:09 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154302 Plus de 600 représentants du gouvernement, de cellule de réflexion, du secteur privé et d’autres délégués de 40 pays ont participé à la Semaine mondiale de la croissance verte (GGGW) du 17 au 20 octobre 2017, organisée par la République fédérale démocratique d’Éthiopie et l’Institut mondial sur la croissance verte. Couvrant un éventail de sujets […]

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Semaine mondiale de la croissance verte (GGGW) - Mahamadou Tounkara, représentant de GGGI au Sénégal

By IPS World Desk
Nov 4 2017 (IPS)

Plus de 600 représentants du gouvernement, de cellule de réflexion, du secteur privé et d’autres délégués de 40 pays ont participé à la Semaine mondiale de la croissance verte (GGGW) du 17 au 20 octobre 2017, organisée par la République fédérale démocratique d’Éthiopie et l’Institut mondial sur la croissance verte.

Couvrant un éventail de sujets allant de la mise en valeur des énergies renouvelables aux partenariats public-privé en passant par la coopération Chine-Afrique, ainsi que les succès et les défis de l’Afrique en matière de croissance verte, cette plate-forme de dialogue a cherché à identifier des moyens de débloquer le potentiel de croissance verte de l’Afrique, le thème de la Semaine.

GGGI a créé un bureau au Sénégal et travaille étroitement avec le gouvernement sur les stratégies et les actions en faveur de la croissance verte. Selon Mahamadou Tounkara, représentant de GGGI au Sénégal, parmi les raisons pour lesquelles le Sénégal a été sélectionné, on note le dynamisme du leadership du pays à faire passer le pays à un autre modèle de croissance.

 

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Dr. Frank Rijsberman, GGGI Director General, speaks about the successes, lessons and opportunities that emerged from GGGWeek2017http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/dr-frank-rijsberman-gggi-director-general-speaks-successes-lessons-opportunities-emerged-gggweek2017/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dr-frank-rijsberman-gggi-director-general-speaks-successes-lessons-opportunities-emerged-gggweek2017 http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/dr-frank-rijsberman-gggi-director-general-speaks-successes-lessons-opportunities-emerged-gggweek2017/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 14:19:32 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154315 The Global Green Growth Institute, in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, held Global Green Growth Week 2017 from 17-20 October 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Attended by GGGI members, stakeholders from the public and private sectors, international organizations, and civil society, the GGGWeek2017 sought to strengthen and catalyze green growth in Africa […]

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Dr. Frank Rijsberman, GGGI Director General, speaks about the successes, lessons and opportunities that emerged from GGGWeek2017

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

The Global Green Growth Institute, in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, held Global Green Growth Week 2017 from 17-20 October 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Attended by GGGI members, stakeholders from the public and private sectors, international organizations, and civil society, the GGGWeek2017 sought to strengthen and catalyze green growth in Africa under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Green Growth Potential”.

In this video, Dr. Frank Rijsberman, GGGI Director General, speaks about the successes, lessons and opportunities that emerged from GGGWeek2017.

 

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Cathy Oxby from Africa GreenCo: public-private partnerships could extend cheaper energy to consumershttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/cathy-oxby-africa-greenco-public-private-partnerships-extend-cheaper-energy-consumers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cathy-oxby-africa-greenco-public-private-partnerships-extend-cheaper-energy-consumers http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/cathy-oxby-africa-greenco-public-private-partnerships-extend-cheaper-energy-consumers/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 14:06:53 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154313 Over 600 government, think tank, private sector and other delegates from 40 countries attended the Global Green Growth Week (GGGW) 2017, 17 – 20 hosted by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). Among key discussions was Africa’s Green Energy Challenges and Off-Grid Solutions. According to Cathy Oxby from […]

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Cathy Oxby from Africa GreenCo: public-private partnerships could extend cheaper energy to consumers

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

Over 600 government, think tank, private sector and other delegates from 40 countries attended the Global Green Growth Week (GGGW) 2017, 17 – 20 hosted by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). Among key discussions was Africa’s Green Energy Challenges and Off-Grid Solutions. According to Cathy Oxby from Africa GreenCo, public-private partnerships could extend cheaper energy to consumers and help close the gap in cost currently covered by subsidies.

 

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Senegal is quickly adopting green growth as key to its national development strategyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/senegal-quickly-adopting-green-growth-key-national-development-strategy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=senegal-quickly-adopting-green-growth-key-national-development-strategy http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/senegal-quickly-adopting-green-growth-key-national-development-strategy/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:56:25 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154310 Senegal is quickly adopting green growth as key to its national development strategy. According to Dr. Mahamadou Tounkara, the country already has lessons to share with the rest of Africa, key among them innovative financing strategies and greening cities. In this interview held on the sidelines of the 17-20 October GGGWeek2017, hosted by the Global […]

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Senegal is quickly adopting green growth as key to its national development strategy. According to Dr. Mahamadou Tounkara, the country already has lessons to share with the rest of Africa, key among them innovative financing strategies and greening cities.

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

Senegal is quickly adopting green growth as key to its national development strategy. According to Dr. Mahamadou Tounkara, the country already has lessons to share with the rest of Africa, key among them innovative financing strategies and greening cities.

In this interview held on the sidelines of the 17-20 October GGGWeek2017, hosted by the Global Green Growth Institute in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Tounkara discusses Senegal’s successes and green growth opportunities.

 

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John Macomber from Harvard Business School talks about the role of educational institutions in addressing Africa’s green energyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/john-macomber-harvard-business-school-talks-role-educational-institutions-addressing-africas-green-energy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=john-macomber-harvard-business-school-talks-role-educational-institutions-addressing-africas-green-energy http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/john-macomber-harvard-business-school-talks-role-educational-institutions-addressing-africas-green-energy/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:45:21 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154305 The Global Green Growth Week 2017, held 17-20 October 2017, by the Global Green Growth Institute in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, explored a number of topics, among them Africa’s Green Energy Challenges and Off-Grid Solutions. In this interview, John Macomber from Harvard Business School talks about the […]

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John Macomber from Harvard Business School talks about the role of educational institutions in addressing Africa’s green energy

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

The Global Green Growth Week 2017, held 17-20 October 2017, by the Global Green Growth Institute in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, explored a number of topics, among them Africa’s Green Energy Challenges and Off-Grid Solutions. In this interview, John Macomber from Harvard Business School talks about the role of educational institutions in addressing Africa’s green energy challenges and off-grid.

 

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Prof. Nii O. Attoh Okine, from the University of Delaware addresses the issue of capacity development and investment in Africahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/prof-nii-o-attoh-okine-university-delaware-addresses-issue-capacity-development-investment-africa/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=prof-nii-o-attoh-okine-university-delaware-addresses-issue-capacity-development-investment-africa http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/prof-nii-o-attoh-okine-university-delaware-addresses-issue-capacity-development-investment-africa/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 10:35:00 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154317 Prof. Nii O. Attoh Okine – Under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Green Growth Potential”, GGGWeek2017, held 17-20 October 2017 by the Global Green Growth Institute in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, tackled a number of key topics, among them Africa’s Green Energy Challenges and Off-Grid Solutions. In an interview with IPS, Prof. […]

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Prof. Nii O. Attoh Okine, from the University of Delaware addresses the issue of capacity development and investment in Africa

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

Prof. Nii O. Attoh Okine – Under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Green Growth Potential”, GGGWeek2017, held 17-20 October 2017 by the Global Green Growth Institute in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, tackled a number of key topics, among them Africa’s Green Energy Challenges and Off-Grid Solutions.

In an interview with IPS, Prof. Nii O. Attoh Okine, from the University of Delaware addresses the issue of capacity development and investment in Africa toward green energy solutions.

 

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Global Green Growth Week 2017: Public-private partnerships and China-Africa collaboration towards green growthhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/global-green-growth-week-2017-public-private-partnerships-china-africa-collaboration-towards-green-growth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=global-green-growth-week-2017-public-private-partnerships-china-africa-collaboration-towards-green-growth http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/global-green-growth-week-2017-public-private-partnerships-china-africa-collaboration-towards-green-growth/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 09:42:10 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=154319 Public-private partnerships and China-Africa collaboration towards green growth on the continent were popular themes during the 17-20 October Global Green Growth Week 2017 forum hosted by the Global Green Growth Institute in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Coskal Ethiopia, which has been operational for over 60 years was amongst private sector partners […]

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Global Green Growth Week 2017: Public-private partnerships and China-Africa collaboration towards green growth

By IPS World Desk
Oct 30 2017 (IPS)

Public-private partnerships and China-Africa collaboration towards green growth on the continent were popular themes during the 17-20 October Global Green Growth Week 2017 forum hosted by the Global Green Growth Institute in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Coskal Ethiopia, which has been operational for over 60 years was amongst private sector partners that participated. In this video, Kiriakos Armenakis, Coskal Principal, explains how China-Africa partnerships in infrastructure development have facilitated the ease of doing business in the region.

 

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World Campaign to Clean Torrents of Plastic Dumped in the Oceanshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/world-campaign-clean-torrents-plastic-dumped-oceans/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-campaign-clean-torrents-plastic-dumped-oceans http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/10/world-campaign-clean-torrents-plastic-dumped-oceans/#respond Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:39:18 +0000 Baher Kamal http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=152613 With 30 countries from Kenya to Indonesia and from Canada to Brazil now involved in the world campaign to beat pollution by countering the torrents of plastic trash that are degrading oceans and endangering the life they sustain, the UN has strengthened its massive efforts to clean up the seas, which are the Earth’s main […]

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"Oceans: our allies against climate change. How marine ecosystems help preserve our world." Credit: FAO

By Baher Kamal
ROME, Oct 20 2017 (IPS)

With 30 countries from Kenya to Indonesia and from Canada to Brazil now involved in the world campaign to beat pollution by countering the torrents of plastic trash that are degrading oceans and endangering the life they sustain, the UN has strengthened its massive efforts to clean up the seas, which are the Earth’s main buffer against climate change.

The 30 countries – all members of UN Environment Programme (UNEP)’s #CleanSeas campaign – account for about 40 per cent of the world’s coastlines–they are drawing up laws, establishing marine reserves, banning plastic bags and gathering up the waste choking their beaches and reefs.

Five ways the oceans help fight climate change and its effects:


1. Trapping carbon: Mangroves, coral reefs, salt marshes and sea-grasses make up just 1 per cent of the ocean’s seabed, but they contain between 50-70 per cent of the carbon stored in the oceans.
- Like forests, marine ecosystems take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and trap them, some of it for thousands of years. As such, these ecosystems are known as “blue carbon sinks.”

2. Reducing coastal erosion: Overtime, waves carry away sediment from the shore. When this happens more quickly or forcefully, for example because of large storms, it has the potential of causing major damage to homes and coastal infrastructure.
- Sea grasses may look like our grass fields on land, but they are actually flowering plants that live in the salty environments of the sea floor and help hold sediment in place. Salt marshes, mangroves and coral reefs also help in slowing erosion and protecting shorelines.

3. Protecting marine life and biodiversity: Coral reefs occupy less than 0.1 per cent of the world's ocean surface, yet they provide a home for at least 25 per cent of all marine biodiversity. Often popular tourist attractions, coral reefs are the least secret of the ocean’s secret weapons. They draw people in to observe the wealth of marine life that they host.
- However, coral reefs are delicate ecosystems that are increasingly strained by human activity. Careless tourism, water pollution, overfishing, rising temperature and acidity are all damaging these ecosystems, sometimes beyond repair.

4. Forming barriers to storms: Mangroves, salt-tolerant shrubs or small trees that grow in saline water of coastal areas, create barriers to destructive waves and hold sediments in place with their underwater root systems. This protects coastal communities in times of cyclones or other tropical storms.
- In fact, scientists concluded that mangroves could have reduced the damages caused by the 2008 Nargis cyclone in Myanmar, where parts of the coastline had lost up to 50 per cent of its mangrove cover.

5. Slowing down destructive waves: Salt marshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tides. Salt marshes are well-known for protecting the coast from soil erosion.
- However, they are also an effective defence against storm surges and devastating waves. Salt marshes can reduce wave sizes by up to 20 per cent.
- As the waves move through and around these marshes, the vegetation quells the force of the water and buffers the effects of these waves on coastal communities, FAO reports, adding that once viewed as wastelands, salt marshes can rival tropical rainforests in terms of biologically productive habitats, as they serve as nurseries and refuges for a wide variety of marine life.

SOURCE: FAO’s Guide to the Ocean

The populous nations of East and South-East Asia account for most of the plastic trash entering the global ocean, UNEP reports, adding that in order to address this menace at its source, Indonesia has pledged to reduce its generation of plastic trash by 70 per cent by 2030, while the Philippines plans new laws targeting single-use plastics.

Human Addiction To Plastic Bags

Humanity’s unhealthy addiction to throwaway plastics bags is a particular target, the UN environment agency warns, while informing that countries including Kenya, France, Jordan, Madagascar and the Maldives have committed to banning plastic bags or restricting consumers to re-usable versions for which they have to pay. See: Plastic No More… Also in Kenya

“Legislation to press companies and citizens to change their wasteful habits is often part of broader government strategies to foster responsible production and consumption – a key step in the global shift toward sustainable development.”

According to UNEP, Belgium and Brazil, for instance, are both working on national action plans to curb marine pollution. Costa Rica has embarked on a five-year strategy to improve waste management that includes a push to reduce the use of plastics.

Eight Billion Tonnes of Plastic… A Year

The flow of pollution means detritus such as drink bottles and flip-flops as well as tiny plastic fragments including micro-beads used in cosmetics are concentrating in the oceans and washing up on the most remote shorelines, from deserted Pacific islets to the Arctic Circle, the UN specialised body informs.

“Humans have already dumped billions of tonnes of plastic, and we are adding it to the ocean at a rate of 8 million tonnes a year,” UNEP warns, adding that as well as endangering fish, birds and other creatures who mistake it for food or become entangled in it, plastic waste has also entered the human food chain with health consequences that are not yet fully understood.

It also harms tourist destinations and provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying diseases including dengue and Zika.

The #CleanSeas campaign aims to “turn the tide on plastic” by inspiring action from governments, businesses and individuals on ocean pollution. See also: UN Declares War on Ocean Plastic

Pollution is the theme of the 2017 United Nations Environment Assembly, which is meeting in Nairobi, Kenya from 4 to 6 December.

Forming barriers to storms. Credit: FAO


The Main Buffer against Climate Change

Another UN agency reminds that while it is well known that forests, especially rainforests, are key allies in the fight against climate change as they absorb greenhouse gas emissions, oceans are the earth’s main buffer against it.

In fact, about 25 per cent of the greenhouse gases that we emit actually gets absorbed by the oceans, as does over 90 per cent of the extra heat produced by human-induced climate change, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports.

“However, oceans are also one of the most affected by it.”

According to the Rome-based UN agency, human activities are resulting in acidification and increasing water temperatures that are changing our oceans and the plant and animal life within them.

More Plastic than Fish?

The UN estimates that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 – with over 5 trillion pieces of plastic weighing more than 260,000 tonnes currently floating in the world’s oceans. Meanwhile, harmful fishing subsidies that contribute to overfishing are estimated to be as high as 35 billion dollars.

Coral reefs and coastal environments in tropical regions, including mangroves and salt marshes, are in particular danger, warns the UN food and agriculture agency.

“These ecosystems store much of the carbon, which then remains in the oceans for hundreds of years, and are thus one of our “allies” against climate change.”

However, since the 1940s, over 30 per cent of mangroves, close to 25 per cent of salt marshes and over 30 per cent of sea-grass meadows have been lost.

“Right when we need them the most, we are losing these crucial ecosystems.”


UN #CleanSeas campaign aims to combat marine plastic litter

Did You Know That…

FAO tells some key facts about the oceans:

— The ocean has it all: from microscopic life to the largest animal that has ever lived on earth, from the colourless to the iridescent, from the frozen to the boiling and from the sunlit to the mysterious dark of the deepest parts of the planet.

— The ocean is the largest ecosystem on earth and provides 99 per cent of the living space for life. It is a fascinating, but often little explored place.

— The ocean affects us in many different ways. It provides us with an important source of food and other natural resources. It influences our climate and weather, provides us with space for recreation and gives us inspiration for stories, artwork and music.

— The list of benefits we get from the ocean is almost endless! But we are also affecting the ocean.

— Overfishing is reducing fish populations, threatening the supply of nutritious food and changing marine food webs.

— Our waste is found in massive floating garbage patches and plastics have been found from the arctic to the bottom of the deepest places in the ocean.

— Climate change and its related impacts, such as ocean acidification, are affecting the survival of some marine species.

— Coastal development is destroying and degrading important marine habitats. Even recreation is known to impact marine habitats and species.

— We need a clean and healthy ocean to support our own health and survival, even if we don’t live anywhere near it.

Now you know! It would good to also remember that humankind managed to survive over millions and millions of years… without plastic!

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