Inter Press ServiceMultimedia – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:02:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 New Tool Separates Wheat from Chaff for Climate-Smart Ag Financehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/new-tool-separates-wheat-chaff-climate-smart-ag-finance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-tool-separates-wheat-chaff-climate-smart-ag-finance http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/new-tool-separates-wheat-chaff-climate-smart-ag-finance/#comments Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:40:56 +0000 Desmond Brown http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151669 Climate-smart agriculture seeks to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand.  CSA initiatives sustainably increase productivity, enhance resilience, and reduce/remove greenhouse gases, and require planning to address tradeoffs and synergies between these three pillars: productivity, adaptation, and mitigation. Trinidadian scientist Steve Maximay says his new Climate-Smart Agriculture […]

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Climate-smart agriculture seeks to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand

Climate-smart agriculture seeks to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand

By Desmond Brown
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad , Aug 14 2017 (IPS)

Climate-smart agriculture seeks to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand. 

CSA initiatives sustainably increase productivity, enhance resilience, and reduce/remove greenhouse gases, and require planning to address tradeoffs and synergies between these three pillars: productivity, adaptation, and mitigation.

Trinidadian scientist Steve Maximay says his new Climate-Smart Agriculture Compliant (C-SAC) tool provides a certification and auditing scheme that can be used to compare projects, processes and products to justify the applicability and quantum of climate change funding.

“C-SAC provides a step-by-step, checklist style guide that a trained person can use to determine how closely the project or process under review satisfies the five areas of compliance,” Maximay told IPS.

“This method literally forces the examiner to consider key aspects or goals of climate-smart agriculture. These aspects (categories) are resource conservation; energy use; safety; biodiversity support; and greenhouse gas reduction.

“It can be used as a preliminary filter to sort through the number of ‘green-washing’ projects that may get funded under the rubric of climate-smart agriculture . . . all in a bid to access the millions of dollars that should go to help small and genuinely progressive farmers,” he said.

Climate-smart agriculture

The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) describes climate-smart agriculture (CSA) as agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, enhances resilience (adaptation), reduces or removes greenhouse gases (mitigation) where possible, and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals.

The climate-smart agriculture concept reflects an ambition to improve the integration of agriculture development and climate responsiveness. It aims to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand.

While the concept is still evolving, many of the practices that make up CSA already exist worldwide and are used by farmers to cope with various production risks.

 

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This Is How Indigenous Peoples Help Curb Gas Emissions, End Hungerhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/indigenous-peoples-help-curb-gas-emissions-end-hunger/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=indigenous-peoples-help-curb-gas-emissions-end-hunger http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/indigenous-peoples-help-curb-gas-emissions-end-hunger/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 11:55:42 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151639 A third of global forests, crucial for curbing gas emissions, are primarily managed by indigenous peoples, families, smallholders and local communities, according to the United Nations. Moreover, indigenous foods are also particularly nutritious, climate-resilient and well-adapted to their environment, making them a good source of nutrients in climate challenged areas, reports the UN Food and […]

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Indigenous Peoples can provide answers to food insecurity and climate change challenges. Credit: FAO

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Aug 10 2017 (IPS)

A third of global forests, crucial for curbing gas emissions, are primarily managed by indigenous peoples, families, smallholders and local communities, according to the United Nations.

Moreover, indigenous foods are also particularly nutritious, climate-resilient and well-adapted to their environment, making them a good source of nutrients in climate challenged areas, reports the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“Constituting only 5 per cent of the world population, indigenous peoples nevertheless are vital stewards of the environment. Traditional indigenous territories encompass 22 per cent of the world’s land surface, but 80 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity. “

According to this Rome-based UN specialised body, indigenous peoples ways of life and their livelihoods can teach us a lot about preserving natural resources, growing food in sustainable ways and living in harmony with nature.

“Mobilising the expertise that originates from this heritage and these historical legacies is important for addressing the challenges facing food and agriculture today and in the future,” it added on 9 August on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

According to FAO, here are 6 of the many ways in which Indigenous Peoples are helping the world combat climate change:

1. Their Traditional Agricultural Practices Are Resilient to Climate Change

Throughout the centuries, indigenous peoples have developed agricultural techniques that are adapted to extreme environments, like the high altitudes of the Andes, the dry grasslands of Kenya or the extreme cold of northern Canada.

These time-tested techniques, like terracing that stops soil erosion or floating gardens that make use of flooded fields, mean that they are well-suited for the increasingly intense weather events and temperature changes brought on by climate change.

2. They Conserve and Restore Forests and Natural Resources

Indigenous peoples see themselves as connected to nature and as part of the same system as the environment in which they live. Natural resources are considered shared property and are respected as such.

By protecting natural resources, like forests and rivers, many indigenous communities help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

3. Indigenous Foods Expand and Diversify Diets

The world currently relies very heavily on a small set of staple crops. Wheat, rice, potatoes and maize represent 50 per cent of daily calories consumed. With nutritious, native crops like quinoa, oca and moringa, the food systems of indigenous peoples can help the rest of humanity expand its narrow food base.

4. Indigenous Foods are Resilient to Climate Change

Because many indigenous peoples live in extreme environments, they have chosen crops that have also had to adapt.

Indigenous peoples often grow native species of crops that are better adapted to local contexts and are often more resistant to drought, altitude, flooding, or other extreme conditions.

Used more widely in farming, these crops could help build the resilience of farms now facing a changing, more extreme climate.

5. Indigenous Territories hold 80 Per Cent of the World’s Biodiversity

Preserving biodiversity is essential for food security and nutrition. The genetic pool for plants and animal species is found in forests, rivers and lakes and pastures.

Living naturally sustainable lives, indigenous peoples preserve these spaces, helping to uphold the biodiversity of the plants and animals in nature.

6. Indigenous Peoples’ Lifestyles Are Locally Adapted and Respectful of Natural Resources

Indigenous peoples have adapted their lifestyles to fit into and respect their environments. In mountains, indigenous peoples’ systems preserve soil, reduce erosion, conserve water and reduce the risk of disasters.

In rangelands, indigenous pastoralist communities manage cattle grazing and cropping in sustainable ways that preserve rangeland biodiversity. In the Amazon, ecosystems improve when indigenous people inhabit them.

FAO considers indigenous peoples as “invaluable partners” in eradicating hunger and in providing solutions to climate change.

“We will never achieve long-term solutions to climate change and food security and nutrition without seeking help from and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.”

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Diving for a Livinghttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/diving-for-a-living/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=diving-for-a-living http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/diving-for-a-living/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 13:35:54 +0000 Ananta Yusuf http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151612 Would you believe that some people still make a living out of diving in ponds and water bodies to recover jewellery or precious possessions lost by bathers? You don’t even have to go far to find such people. In fact, the bede community in Narayanganj have a few people who make a living doing exactly […]

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By Ananta Yusuf
Aug 7 2017 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

Would you believe that some people still make a living out of diving in ponds and water bodies to recover jewellery or precious possessions lost by bathers?

You don’t even have to go far to find such people. In fact, the bede community in Narayanganj have a few people who make a living doing exactly that. Diving into ponds to recover precious ornaments in exchange for a small amount of money, the Duburi (Diver) or PukurJharani, as they are known, have been doing so for years.

“The bede people were never used to usual jobs, so we would do works such as hunting birds and catching snakes,” said Sohel Sardar Duburi while talking to The Daily Star at his home in Narayanganj’s Rupganj. “But the forests have long disappeared and we no longer earn our bread and butter from such works. Then our forefathers taught us the art of finding precious jewellery by diving.”

Divers like him can currently be seen in two bede communities at Signboard and Rupganj areas of Narayanganj.

Once, when most people used ponds to take baths, the divers were in high demand. Today, most ponds have disappeared and thus the number of divers has also dropped drastically.

But that is not the only problem for the divers.

“People do not wear as much gold as they used to do,” noted Sohel Sardar, explaining why they are not in high demand like yesteryears.

There was a time, when most of the bedes would visit Dhaka and its surrounding areas for work but now those days are long gone and they have to travel to distant areas in search of work.

While sharing his experience, Molla Nasir Uddin Duburi said “We stay out of home around a month when we visit far-off places in search of work. Generally, we travel to districts like Barisal, Khulna and Satkhira where there are still a good number of jobs.”

He also informed that they get one to two thousand takas for finding gold objects such as necklaces. If it is a diamond necklace, they demand six to seven times more as their service charge. He further added that they still get around eight to nine jobs every month.

Another duburi, Mehedi Hasan, said that they go from home to home in villages to look for work. “We get response from those who have lost their ornaments. In distant villages, we spend our nights at mosques or the balconies of schools. We don’t have any problems with that,” he added.

Photo: Khalid Hussain Ayon

The duburis use a scoop shaped like a partially enclosed triangular shovel and a garden rack to find lost ornaments. They dive around 10 to 15 feet deep into the water, fill up the basket with the sediment by means of the rack, bring the sediment to the surface and look for the ornament in it.

Interestingly, they sometimes find something else while looking for the lost ornaments and generally share the object with the owner.

The duburis observe a number of myth-based rituals before they get into the pond. Before diving in, they offer sweets and bananas to the monsters likely to be living deep in the pond. The duburis still believe that such offerings are necessary for the job to be done safely.

“Offerings must be given otherwise a mishap might occur at any moment. Once, we dived into a pond in Sonargaon and a water monster snatched away our scoop, which we never found. We will die if we don’t provide offerings to the monsters,” Molla Nasir Uddin said.

The number of professional duburis is declining; there were 30 duburis in the Signboard area even 10 years ago but now the number stands at only 5.

Even the duburis themselves do not want to continue with the profession and they want their next generation to be educated and established members of society.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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Migrants Crossing US-Mexico Border Dying at Faster Rate. More Deaths in Mediterraneanhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/migrants-crossing-us-mexico-border-dying-faster-rate-deaths-mediterranean/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migrants-crossing-us-mexico-border-dying-faster-rate-deaths-mediterranean http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/migrants-crossing-us-mexico-border-dying-faster-rate-deaths-mediterranean/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 09:12:30 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151589 While the number of migrants deaths in the Mediterranean Sea has so far in 2017 exceeded 2,350 victims for the fourth consecutive year, migrants crossing the United States-Mexico border are dying at a faster rate in 2017 than in past years, the UN migration agency reports. Visit to Detention Centers in Libya. During Ambassador Swing’s […]

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By IPS World Desk
ROME, Aug 7 2017 (IPS)

While the number of migrants deaths in the Mediterranean Sea has so far in 2017 exceeded 2,350 victims for the fourth consecutive year, migrants crossing the United States-Mexico border are dying at a faster rate in 2017 than in past years, the UN migration agency reports.


Visit to Detention Centers in Libya. During Ambassador Swing’s visit to Tripoli in May, IOM Libya launched a plan to enhance its presence in the country and improve living conditions inside detention centres. This video is a result of a VR training commissioned by the UN and conducted by LightShed. Source: IOM – UN Migration Agency

According to a new briefing from the Berlin-based Missing Migrants Project (MMP) at the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM) Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, migrants crossing the United States-Mexico border are dying at a faster rate in 2017 than in past years.

On this, MMP’s Julia Black on 4 August reported: “Some 232 migrant fatalities have been recorded in the first seven months of 2017, an increase of 17 per cent compared with the 204 deaths recorded between January and July 2016.”

Black added: “Fifty bodies were recorded as discovered in July, the most recorded in any month so far this year,” explaining that these remains were located across the border region. “Nine were recorded in various locations along the Río Grande; ten in a truck in San Antonio, Texas; and 16 in other locations in Texas.”

Migrants Crossing US-Mexico Border Dying at Faster Rate in 2017: UN Migration Agency

Fifteen more were recovered in Arizona’s Pima County, a notoriously dangerous crossing, where seasonal temperatures regularly soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) between the months of May and September. So far in 2017, 96 bodies have been recovered in Pima County.

Black said, “These numbers are especially concerning considering that, according to US Border Patrol figures, fewer migrants seem to be crossing into the US in 2017. The US Border Patrol has apprehended 140,024 migrants between January and June 2017, about half the number recorded in the first six months of 2016.”

The briefing reports that IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded more than 1,250 migrant fatalities on the US-Mexico border since 2014.

The “American Dream”

MMP staffers note each one of these deaths are individual tragedies that serve as reminders of the many migrants who continue to risk their lives pursuing their “Sueño Americano” – or American Dream, according to Black.

“Though the story of the ten migrants who lost their lives trapped in the back of a tractor-trailer in Texas on Sunday was widely covered by English- and Spanish-language media, most of the deaths recorded in the border region occur in ones and twos. Those deaths, recorded almost daily during summer months, rarely make headlines.”

The most recent incident recorded on the border region was the death of a five-year-old child migrant drowned in the Río Grande near Tamaulipas, Mexico, on Wednesday. Reports indicate that the child’s father also went missing during the river crossing, she added.

“Many of those pursuing ‘el Sueño Americano’ travel from Mexico to Texas, meaning that they must cross the swift-flowing Río Grande to reach the US. The briefing reports that in 2017, 57 people have drowned in Though migrant fatalities on the US-Mexico border represent 65 per cent of the total number recorded in the Americas, it is likely that many migrant deaths occur in Central and Southern America that go unrecorded.”

Notably, several bodies, presumed to be migrants, were seen floating off the coast of Nicaragua on Tuesday; another migrant was killed near Oaxaca, Mexico on Sunday after being struck by a train; another, from El Salvador, was the victim of a stabbing, she added.

The briefing reports that the true number of migrant fatalities in 2017 is likely to be higher than the data from Missing Migrants Project indicate. “It’s something that is true for all regions of the world, unfortunately,” concluded Black.

2,397 Migrant Deaths in the Mediterranean

Meantime, the UN Migration agency on the same day, 4 August, reported that 115,109 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 2 August, with almost 83 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 261,228 arrivals across the region through 2 August 2016.

Credit: IOM

For its part, IOM Rome reported that according to official figures of the Italian MOI, 95,215 migrants arrived in Italy by sea this year, which is slightly (2.73 per cent) fewer than last year during the same period, when 97,892 arrived, highlighting a trend that IOM has observed of slower traffic to Italy during mid-summer, and fewer deaths (approximately half of those recorded in July 2015 and 2016).

Top Ten Nationalities

Italian authorities on August first week released the latest roster of top-ten nationalities to arrive as migrants traveling by sea from Africa through the end of July, added IOM.

Nigeria continues to be the year’s top sender nation with 15,317 arrivals, followed by Bangladesh (8,687), Guinea (8,631), Cote d’Ivoire (7,905) and Mali (5,526).

Bangladesh, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco continue to show sharp increases over levels of arrivals at this time last year. Those countries that now are sending fewer migrants include Eritrea – down more than 50 per cent from 2016 – with slighter decreases as well for Nigeria, Sudan and the Gambia.

IOM’s Flavio Di Giacomo further noted total arrivals by sea to Italy during the month of July came to 11,461, a decrease of more than 50 per cent compared with the total registered in July 2016: 23,552.

Asphyxiation on Board

Meanwhile, IOM Athens reported that 73 migrants and refugees arrived at various Greek locations (Lesvos, Rhodes, Megisti) between 31 July and 2 August. The total number of arrivals by sea to Greece as of 2 August is 11,353. This compares with 160,515 at this time last year.

“The latest fatalities in the region were reported on Tuesday (1 August) when eight corpses were recovered on a dinghy off the Libyan coast – it is likely the migrants died from asphyxiation on board. They were expected to be brought to land in Italy on Friday 4 August.”

These deaths bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,397, IOM reports, adding that although this figure trails the number of deaths (3,193) recorded at this time last year, it nonetheless marks the fourth consecutive year migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea have exceeded 2,350.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project reports that there have been 3,408 fatalities in 2017 through 2 August, with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – over two-thirds of the global total.

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peopleshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/international-day-worlds-indigenous-peoples/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=international-day-worlds-indigenous-peoples http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/08/international-day-worlds-indigenous-peoples/#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:59:55 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151547 Over the centuries, Indigenous peoples who have in-depth and locally rooted knowledge of the natural world , have been increasingly dispossessed of their lands, territories and resources and have lost control over their own way of life. Traditional indigenous lands and territories contain some 80 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity and indigenous peoples have […]

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Aug 2 2017 (IPS)

Over the centuries, Indigenous peoples who have in-depth and locally rooted knowledge of the natural world , have been increasingly dispossessed of their lands, territories and resources and have lost control over their own way of life.

Traditional indigenous lands and territories contain some 80 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity and indigenous peoples have a crucial role in managing natural resources.

One of the root causes of poverty and marginalization of indigenous peoples is loss of control over their traditional lands, territories and natural resources.

Worldwide, indigenous peoples account for 5 per cent of the population, but represent 15 per cent of those living in poverty. Too often, they pay a price for being different and face discrimination.

Enabling indigenous peoples to overcome poverty requires supporting their efforts to shape and direct their own destinies and managing development initiatives crafted with that goal in mind. Their concept of poverty and development must reflect their own values, needs and priorities; they do not see poverty solely as the lack of income

Indigenous peoples have rich and ancient cultures and view their social, economic, environmental and spiritual systems as interdependent. Their traditional knowledge and understanding of ecosystem management are valuable contributions to the world’s heritage.

Indigenous languages are key to ensuring the continuation and transmission of the culture, customs and history that constitute the core parts of the heritage and identity of indigenous peoples. It is estimated that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 oral languages in the world today. A great majority of these languages are spoken by indigenous peoples, and many (if not most) of them are in danger of becoming extinct. One indigenous language dies every two weeks.

There are more than 370 million self-identified indigenous peoples in over 70 countries around the world. There are more than 400 groups in Latin America alone, each with a distinct language and culture. The biggest concentration of indigenous peoples, an estimated 70 per cent, live in Asia and the Pacific region.

On the Tenth Anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the IPS Inter Press Service and its partners call for the voices of the Indigenous Peoples to be heard and their rights respected.

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A Green Energy Shift in Barbados, One Streetlight at a Timehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/green-energy-shift-barbados-one-streetlight-time/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=green-energy-shift-barbados-one-streetlight-time http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/green-energy-shift-barbados-one-streetlight-time/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 22:26:42 +0000 Desmond Brown http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151514 The ever-escalating and volatile price of oil, and the high cost of importation, have left Barbados and other island nations in the unenviable position of having the highest electricity prices in the world. But a new shift towards renewables is driving down greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, buildings’ heating and cooling, and transport, and […]

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A Green Energy Shift in Barbados, One Streetlight at a Time

By Desmond Brown
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jul 28 2017 (IPS)

The ever-escalating and volatile price of oil, and the high cost of importation, have left Barbados and other island nations in the unenviable position of having the highest electricity prices in the world.

But a new shift towards renewables is driving down greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, buildings’ heating and cooling, and transport, and saving taxpayer money in the process.

In addition to changing out street lights and retrofitting the 13 government buildings, a project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU) will also see the use of more electric vehicles in Barbados.

While the Barbados government leads the renewables drive, everyone on the island is catching on. In addition to the solar panels and water heaters which can be seen on government buildings, hospitals, police stations and bus shelters, thousands of private homes also have them installed. And desalinization plants are installing large photovoltaic arrays to help defray their own electricity costs.

“Of course, we must embrace the role of energy efficiency in this master plan because this is one of the low hanging fruits for Barbados in the transition to clean energy,” said the Head of the Green Economy and Resilience Section of the EU Peter Sturesson. “This will assist in the reduction of the fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions and by that, lowering the carbon footprint of the island.”

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Migrants – The Increasingly Expensive Deadly Voyageshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/migrants-increasingly-expensive-deadly-voyages/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migrants-increasingly-expensive-deadly-voyages http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/migrants-increasingly-expensive-deadly-voyages/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 16:35:27 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151476 They borrow huge amounts of money. They sell all their modest properties. They suffer brutalities on the hands of their own countries “security” forces to prevent them from fleeing wars, droughts, floods, lack of food, extreme poverty. Thousands of them fall prey to human traffickers who take they money to load them on fragile boats […]

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The cost of getting into Europe has increased significantly when compared to 2016, says the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Credit: IOM

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Jul 28 2017 (IPS)

They borrow huge amounts of money. They sell all their modest properties. They suffer brutalities on the hands of their own countries “security” forces to prevent them from fleeing wars, droughts, floods, lack of food, extreme poverty.

Thousands of them fall prey to human traffickers who take they money to load them on fragile boats in voyages toward death. And hundreds of survivors are bought and sold as slaves. See: African Migrants Bought and Sold Openly in ‘Slave Markets’ in Libya.

Should all this not be enough, the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) has just reported that voyages through the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route and into the European Union now cost 5,000 dollars or more.


Credit: UNICEF

“With increased border controls, it has become harder to reach Europe,” noted Livia Styp-Rekowska, IOM’s Border Management Specialist in Vienna. “One constant, however, is the increase in sums demanded.”

Styp-Rekowska noted new data released on 25 July that shows “the cost of getting into Europe has increased significantly when compared to 2016, the routes have changed, and different countries of destination are being prioritized.”

People arriving from Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan are charged the most, according to IOM.

Credit: IOM

The most popular destination up to June 2016 was overwhelmingly Germany, but migrants now seek to get to France, Sweden, Italy, Norway, Austria and Denmark as well, with Greece used as a popular transit country.

IOM has also reported that 112,018 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 23 July, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 250,586 arrivals across the region through 23 July 2016. See: Death Toll Rises in the Mediterranean Sea as EU Turns Its Back

Children Flee by Themselves

Meantime, Children Now More Than Half of the 65 Million Displaced and bear the blunt of inhumane abuses. In fact, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the same –25 July—reported that facing violence and trauma in Libya and other countries, thousands of children decided to flee by themselves, seeking to get away but not necessarily aiming for Europe.

The cost of getting into Europe has increased significantly when compared to 2016, says the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

A five year-old boy carries an empty water jerry in Al-hol camp in north-eastern Syria, hosting over 4,600 Iraqi refugees. Like most children there, he bears the brunt of carrying water for his family. Credit: UNICEF/Souliman

A new study of push-pull factors on child marriage showed that 75 per cent of children on the move decided to leave unaccompanied and that initially, they had no intention to come to Europe, UNICEF spokesperson Sarah Crowe said.

“What was striking in the new findings was that there were far more push factors, pushing children away from home – conflicts or violence at home – than there were pull factors [that lure them to Europe], and this went against the current narrative,” Crowe said.

She noted that of the children who arrived in Libya, 63 per cent of young people left the country because of the generalised violence and trauma they suffered or witnessed, making them more willing to take terrifying sea journeys.

“As one young Gambian boy said, ‘if you have a lion behind your back and a sea in front of you, you take the sea,’” she added.

“Among girls interviewed, one in five left because of forced child marriage at home.”

For the first six months of the year, a total of 12,239 children had arrived to Italy, and 93 per cent were travelling alone – the majority of them teenage boys, according to UNICEF figures. In Greece, however, the majority of children were actually being sent on the voyage by their parents, or were accompanied by their parents.

UNICEF stressed that the study is important for policymakers to understand why the children are making the voyage and how best to help them once they arrive in Europe… If they arrive! See: A Grisly Tale of Children Falling Easy Prey to Ruthless Smugglers

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Halting Sexual Exploitation of Children in Tourism, Mission Impossiblehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/halting-sexual-exploitation-children-tourism-mission-impossible/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=halting-sexual-exploitation-children-tourism-mission-impossible http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/halting-sexual-exploitation-children-tourism-mission-impossible/#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:44:16 +0000 Baher Kamal http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151347 While the business sector jumps for joy as the number of tourists grew in 2016 for the seventh consecutive year to reach 1.2 billion, and as the first four months of 2017 have registered 6 per cent increase, the sheer speed, abetted by technology, of an atrocious crime—the sexual exploitation of children in tourism, has, […]

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By Baher Kamal
ROME, Jul 18 2017 (IPS)

While the business sector jumps for joy as the number of tourists grew in 2016 for the seventh consecutive year to reach 1.2 billion, and as the first four months of 2017 have registered 6 per cent increase, the sheer speed, abetted by technology, of an atrocious crime—the sexual exploitation of children in tourism, has, to date, out-paced all attempts to put an end to it.

In fact, failure of collective action and a chronic lack of robust data constitute the main challenges to eliminate this crime, underlines the Global Study “Offenders on the Move,” which is the largest pool of information on the issue to date.


Source: International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

In spite of such widely recognised failure, further attempts gave lastly been deployed to halt this crime–a group of specialised experts on July 17 gathered in Madrid at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) headquarters, to discuss measures the fight against child sexual exploitation in the tourism sector. “Sexual exploitation in travel and tourism has a child’s face. No country is untouched by this phenomenon and no child is immune.”

“We cannot build the responsible and sustainable tourism sector that we seek without protecting the most vulnerable in our societies. To do so we need effective tools and a global commitment,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

“Article 2 of UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism underlines that the exploitation of human beings in any form, especially when applied to children, conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism and is the negation of tourism”, Taleb Rifai recalled.

The world organisation is progressing with transforming the Code into a legally binding international treaty, the UNWTO Draft Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, which we hope will be approved by our General Assembly next September, he added.

The Madrid meeting initiative has been coordinated by the Bangkok-based End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), a network of 95 civil society organisations in 86 countries with one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children, with the support of the government of The Netherlands.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai

‘Sexual Exploitation in Tourism Has a Child Face’

The fight against Child Exploitation in tourism is one of the priorities of UNWTO who has been leading since 20 years the World Tourism Network on Child Protection, formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism.

Najat Maalla M’jid, Chair of this Task force, which guided the development of the Global Study, set the scene for Madrid the meeting by stridently declaring, “Sexual exploitation in travel and tourism has a child’s face. No country is untouched by this phenomenon and no child is immune.”

In this International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, let us place children’s right to protection from violence and exploitation at the heart of our actions, she added.

For his part, the Special Rapporteur on child trafficking and sexual exploitation, Maud de Boer Buquicchio called for “child protection to be placed at the core of tourism development strategies.”

The rise of the Internet and informal operators as well as greater access to international travel have expanded ‘demand’ and heightened the dangers for children. At the same time, grinding poverty and lack of education – combined with the continued neglect of child protection systems – have fuelled the ‘supply’ of children.

INTERPOL at Work

One of the initiatives conducted globally has been represented by the tools implemented by INTERPOL aimed at reducing the possibilities for known sex offenders travelling unnoticed internationally.

Peter van Dalen, from Interpol’s Organized & Emerging Crime Directorate, said, “Anonymity protects traveling sex offenders, and INTERPOL is working with countries to deprive known sex offenders’ of their anonymity, through mechanisms such as an international warning system sharing information across borders about convicted sex offenders, as well as an international vetting system for job applicants applying to working with children.

Credit: UNWTO

A unique feature of this process has been the strong engagement with the private sector, motivated by the need to ‘get ahead’ of practices that can seriously affect their reputation and their bottom line, according to UNWTO.

“The recently reported examples from the US involving flight attendants intervening when they noticed unusual situations involving children travelling with adults underscore the fact that no country is immune to the issue – and furthermore, that investments by the travel and tourism industry in training staff and access to reporting systems can pay dividends.”

The challenge remains to expand coordinated action to implement the recommendations of Global Study.

Poor Countries Encouraged to Promote Tourism

Meanwhile, world bodies have been lastly encouraging developing countries, in particular in Africa and the poorest nations worldwide, to promote tourism as a powerful economic engine.

Just four days ahead of the Madrid expert meeting on sexual exploitation of children in tourism, the UNWTO reported that tourism “can make a strong contribution to the economies of Least Developed Countries where the sector is a major exporter concludes the report Tourism for Sustainable Development in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).’

Launched on 13 July on the occasion of the Aid for Trade Review held in Geneva, the report has been produced by UNWTO, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).

Tourism represents 7 per cent of all international trade and is of increasing relevance to the trade community, according to the report. It is part of services trade, accounting for 30 per cent of the world’s trade in services. This is particularly true for the LDCs, where it represents 7 per cent of total exports of goods and services, a figure that stands at 10 per cent for non-oil LDC exporters.

In view of the above, and as shown in the report, tourism has been recognised as a key sector for trade-related technical assistance in LDCs. Forty-five out of 48 Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies analysed for the report feature tourism as a key sector for development, according to the study.

“Yet, despite tourism’s value in the trade agenda, it is often difficult to direct trade-related technical assistance towards the sector because tourism and trade tend to fall under different line ministries. Successful interventions in tourism require strong collaboration across government agencies as well as across different actors at the regional or local level.”

The report aims to increase the commitment and investment in coordination and raise tourism’s prominence in trade-related technical assistance as to ensure the sector delivers on its powerful capacity to create jobs and incomes where they are most needed and for those who are most vulnerable – including youth and women.

The report has been launched to coincide with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.

In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to all the 17 SDGs.

Goal 17 sets as one of the targets a “significant increase of exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020”, to which tourism as service export can contribute.

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Not Just Numbers: Migrants Tell Their Storieshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/not-just-numbers-migrants-tell-stories/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=not-just-numbers-migrants-tell-stories http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/not-just-numbers-migrants-tell-stories/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 09:52:11 +0000 Baher Kamal http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151317 Every single day, print and online media and TV broadcasters show images and footage of migrants and refugees adrift, salvage teams rescuing their corpses–alive or dead, from fragile boats that are often deliberately sunk by human traffickers near the coasts of a given country. Their dramas are counted –and told– quasi exclusively in cold figures. […]

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By Baher Kamal
ROME, Jul 17 2017 (IPS)

Every single day, print and online media and TV broadcasters show images and footage of migrants and refugees adrift, salvage teams rescuing their corpses–alive or dead, from fragile boats that are often deliberately sunk by human traffickers near the coasts of a given country. Their dramas are counted –and told– quasi exclusively in cold figures.

Every now and then a reporter talks to a couple of them or interviews some of the tens of humanitarian organisations and groups, mostly to get information about their life conditions in the numerous so called “reception centres” that are often considered rather as “detention centres” installed on both shores of the Mediterranean sea.

How to participate in IOM “i am a migrant” campaign


Answer a few questions:
- Country of origin/ current country/occupation,
- At what age did you leave your country and why (and where did you go to)?
- What was your first impression?
- What do you miss from your country?
- What do you think you bring to the country you're living in?
- What do you want to do/what do you actually do for your country of origin? (Example) What's your greatest challenge right now?
- Do you have a piece of advice you'd like to give to the people back in your country?
- And to those living in your host country?
- Where is home for you?
- Share a high-resolution picture of yourself

SOURCE: IOM

It is a fact that their numbers are shocking: 101,417 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 9 July, the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported. Of this total, 2,353 died.

Beyond the figures, migrants and refugees live inhumane drama, are victims of rights abuse, discrimination, xenophobia and hatred–often encouraged by some politicians. Let alone that tragic realty that they fall easy pry to human traffickers who handle them as mere merchandise. See: African Migrants Bought and Sold Openly in ‘Slave Markets’ in Libya..

On top of that, another UN organisation—the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that the Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe is among the world’s deadliest and most dangerous migrant routes for children and women.

“The route is mostly controlled by smugglers, traffickers and other people seeking to prey upon desperate children and women who are simply seeking refuge or a better life,” it reports. See: A Grisly Tale of Children Falling Easy Prey to Ruthless Smugglers.

On this, Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe, said that this route “is mostly controlled by smugglers, traffickers and other people seeking to prey upon desperate children and women who are simply seeking refuge or a better life.”

Moreover, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has estimated that 7 of 10 victims of human traffickers are women and children.

True that statistics help evaluate the magnitude of such an inhumane drama. But, is this enough?

1,200 Migrants Tell Their Dreams and Realities

2,716 kms from home. “I’ll probably go back to Senegal to use what I have learnt here (Niger) to contribute to my country’s development and to Africa as a whole” – Fatou. Read her story. Credit: IOM/Amanda Nero

In a singular initiative, IOM launched “i am a migrant” – a platform to promote diversity and inclusion of migrants in society.

3,385 kms from home. “Before, they used to ask how I came here. Now they ask migrants why they came” – Jasmine. Occupation: Law-maker. Current Country: Republic of Korea. Country of Origin: Philippines. Read her story. Credit: IOM

It’s specifically designed to support volunteer groups, local authorities, companies, associations, groups, indeed, anyone of goodwill who is concerned about the hostile public discourse against migrants, says IOM.

i am a migrant” allows the voices of individuals to shine through and provides an honest insight into the triumphs and tribulations of migrants of all backgrounds and at all phases of their migratory journeys.”

“While we aim to promote positive perceptions of migrants we do not shy away from presenting life as it is experienced. We seek to combat xenophobia and discrimination at a time when so many are exposed to negative narratives about migration – whether on our social media feeds or on the airwaves.”

The IOM campaign uses the testimonials of migrants to connect people with the human stories of migration. Thus far, it has seen 1,200 profiles published. The anecdotes and memories shared on the platform help us understand what words such as “integration”, “multiculturalism” and “diversity” truly mean.

Through stories collected by IOM teams around the world, “diversity finally finds a human face.” While inviting migrants to share their stories with its teams, IOM informs that “i am a migrant” is part of the UN TOGETHER initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone who has left home in search of a better life.

Read their stories here.

From the Ashes of World War II

IOM is among the world’s most experienced international agencies dealing with migrants. No wonder– it rose from the ashes of World War Two over 65 years ago.

“In the battle-scarred continent of Europe, no government alone could help survivors who wanted no more than an opportunity to resume their lives in freedom and with dignity. The first incarnation of IOM was created to resettle refugees during this post-war period,” it reminds.

The agency’s history tracks the man-made and natural disasters of the past over 65 years – Hungary 1956; Czechoslovakia 1968; Chile 1973; the Viet Nam boat people 1975; Kuwait 1990, Kosovo and Timor 1999; the 2003 invasion of Iraq; the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

Now under the United Nations umbrella as part of its system since 2016, IOM quickly grew from a focus on migrant and refugee resettlement to become the world’s leading inter-governmental organisation dedicated to the well-being, safety and engagement of migrants.

Over the years, IOM has grown into 166 member states. Its global presence has expanded to over 400 field locations. With over 90 per cent of its staff deployed in the field, it has become a lead responder to the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies.

Shall these facts –and the stories migrants tell—help awaken the consciousness of those European politicians who ignore the fact that their peoples were once migrants and refugees as a consequences of wars their predecessors provoked? And that the migration agency was born for them?

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‘Address African Rural Youth Unemployment Now or They Will Migrate’http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/address-african-rural-youth-unemployment-now-will-migrate/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=address-african-rural-youth-unemployment-now-will-migrate http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/07/address-african-rural-youth-unemployment-now-will-migrate/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 10:13:52 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151148 In 2014 alone, about 11 million young Africans entered the labour market. But many see few opportunities in the agriculture sector and are constrained by a lack of skills, low wages, and limited access to land and financial services. Combined, this makes them more prone to migrate from rural areas. Youth employment should be at […]

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By IPS World Desk
ROME, Jul 3 2017 (IPS)

In 2014 alone, about 11 million young Africans entered the labour market. But many see few opportunities in the agriculture sector and are constrained by a lack of skills, low wages, and limited access to land and financial services. Combined, this makes them more prone to migrate from rural areas.

Youth employment should be at the centre of any strategy to face economic and demographic challenges in Africa, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) José Graziano da Silva told a joint African Union-European Union meeting in Rome.

“Fostering sustainable agriculture and rural development is essential to absorb these millions of youth looking for a job,” Graziano da Silva said. “A sustainable world can only be achieved with the full engagement of young people. They must feel integrated and believe that a more peaceful and prosperous world is possible.”

The one-day meeting, held on July 2, was co-hosted by the African Union Commission, the European Commission and the Estonian Presidency of the EU Council and was attended by Ministers of Agriculture of the African Union and the European Union.

The aim was to build a common vision on how to generate sustainable, inclusive jobs for African youth in the rural sector.

“Youth employment should be at the centre of any strategy to face economic and demographic challenges in Africa” – Graziano da Silva


Five-Step Solution

Graziano da Silva outlined five steps to engage youth in agriculture and rural development.

Firstly, enhance youth participation and leadership in producer organizations and other rural institutions to empower them to engage in policy dialogue.

Secondly, stimulate private sector investments to create a modern and dynamic agricultural sector and value chains, and to build infrastructure needed for agricultural investments.

Thirdly, provide rural areas with better services such as electricity, education and health.

The fourth step is to strengthen the physical, economic, social and political links between small urban centres and their surrounding rural areas.

Finally, invest more in Information and Communication Technologies, which has the potential to improve efficiency in some farm work and facilitate access to markets, information and business opportunities.

The number of people struggling to find enough food each day in South Sudan has grown to six million. Credit: FAO


The UN specialised agency is supporting the implementation of many programmes that target youth in rural areas. Uganda, for example, has adopted FAO’s Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools methodology, funded by Norway, Sweden and Belgium.

This simple but efficient program teaches vulnerable children and young people about farming and management skills, the UN agency said.

As examples, it reports that in Nigeria, it is supporting the design of the National Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme; and FAO and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development have joined forces to increase jobs and business opportunities for young people in rural areas of Benin, Cameroon, Malawi and Niger through a 4 million dollars grant made available by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund.

The conference outcomes will be presented at the Africa-EU Summit in November this year and will guide future work of both the European Commission and the African Union Commission.

An FAO-supported horticulture project in Ethiopia is helping create job opportunities for young people. Credit: FAO

The joint African Union-European Union meeting in Rome was held on the eve of FAO’s Conference 40th Session on 3-8 July 2017. It is the organisation’s highest governing body and sessions are held every two years.

The purpose is to convene the Member Nations at FAO headquarters to review and vote on the Director General’s proposed program of work and budget.

Pressing Issues

Participants will discuss a number of pressing issues including how to turn commitment into action to achieve the Global Goal of Zero Hunger; water scarcity, food security and a changing climate in the Near East and North Africa; sustainable solutions to prevent famine in conflict-affected countries; an action plan on food security and nutrition for Small Island Developing States; and the role of rural development in mitigating pressures that drive migration.

This year around 1,000 participants are expected to attend, including 70 Ministers, 15 Deputy Ministers and one President. The session takes place over 6 days during which around 20 side events will be held, FAO informs.

FAO has 194 Member States plus one Member Organization, the European Union, and two Associate Members, The Faroe Islands and Tokelau.

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Any Way to Help Slow Down Climate Change… Individually?http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/anyway-help-slow-climate-change-individually-yes-can/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=anyway-help-slow-climate-change-individually-yes-can http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/anyway-help-slow-climate-change-individually-yes-can/#comments Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:35:49 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151059 It is no secret that the biggest responsible for climate change is greed. The greed of the world’s largest private corporations, which blindly seek unlimited high financial benefits. And the greed of those politicians who are also blindly keen about holding their temporary power at any cost, thus not daring to challenge big business. Ordinary […]

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Food waste has become a dangerous habit: about 1/3 of the food we produce globally (1.3 billion tonnes of the food every year) is lost or wasted

Hunger is still one of the most urgent development challenges, yet the world is producing more than enough food. Credit: FAO

By IPS World Desk
ROME, Jun 27 2017 (IPS)

It is no secret that the biggest responsible for climate change is greed. The greed of the world’s largest private corporations, which blindly seek unlimited high financial benefits. And the greed of those politicians who are also blindly keen about holding their temporary power at any cost, thus not daring to challenge big business. Ordinary people can meanwhile help slow down such a hellish race.

For instance, food waste has become a dangerous habit: buying more than we need at supermarkets, letting fruits and vegetables spoil at home, or ordering more than we can eat at restaurants. This way, each year, about one third of the food we produce globally is lost or wasted.

This is what the United Nations over and again tells. The point is that humans are apparently not paying real attention to help avoid such a huge food waste and loss, while lamenting that hunger and poverty are again breaking records in several parts of the world, often due to man-made disasters caused by excessive and even voracious consumption.

9 Tips for Reducing Food Waste

Start small – Take smaller portions at home or share large dishes at restaurants.
Leave nothing behind – Keep your leftovers for another meal or use them in a different dish.
Buy only what you need – Be smart with your shopping. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. Don’t buy more than you can use.
Don’t be prejudiced - Buy “ugly” or irregularly shaped fruits and vegetables that are just as good but look a little different.
Check your fridge – Store food between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius for maximum freshness and shelf-life.
First in, first out – Try using produce that you had bought previously and, when you stack up your fridge and cupboards, move older products to the front and place newer ones in the back.
Understand dates - “Use by” indicates a date by which the food is safe to be eaten, while “best before” means the food’s quality is best prior to that date, but it is still safe for consumption after it. Another date mark that you can find on food packages is the “Sell by” date, which is helpful for stock rotation by manufacturers and retailers.
Compost – Some food waste might be unavoidable, so why not set up a compost bin!
Donate the surplus – Sharing is caring.

SOURCE: FAO

The facts about food waste and loss are bold. In developing countries, a large part of food –40 per cent– is lost at the harvest or processing stage, the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports. This is called “food loss.”

Meantime, in developed countries, this same percentage –40 per cent– is lost at the consumer or retail stage, throwing away food that is not bought at stores or food that is not eaten at home, restaurants and cafeterias. This is called “food waste.”

In short, every year, an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of the food produced for human consumption worldwide is lost or wasted.

Wasting Food Increases Greenhouse Gas Emissions

“We have formed habits that hurt our world and put extra strain on our natural resources. When we waste food, we waste the labour, money and precious resources (like seeds, water, feed, etc.) that go into making the food, not to mention the resources that go into transporting it,” the UN agency reminds.

In other words, wasting food increases greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to climate change.

And it is an excess in an age where almost a billion people go hungry, and represents a waste of the labour, water, energy, land and other inputs that went into producing that food.

In industrialised countries, significant waste occurs at the consumption stage, while in low-income countries, food losses take place primarily during the early and middle stages of the supply chain, according to FAO.

At the same time, the losses incurred in developing countries are largely due to infrastructural constraints related to poor transport, storage, processing and packaging facilities, in addition to capacity gaps that result in inefficient production, harvesting, processing and transport of food.

Depending on the commodity and the local context, these activities –which are key to reducing losses– are often carried out by smallholder farmers or other actors operating close to the farm-gate, such as traders, collectors, agro-processors and marketing cooperatives, the UN specialised body adds.

One reason is that it is difficult for smallholders to ensure efficient delivery of produce to buyers because of their small-sized operations and their vulnerability when faced with environmental and market fluctuations.

This situation contributes not only to food loss, but also to higher transaction costs, loss of income and increased food insecurity, reinforcing the overall argument for supporting producer organisations that foster the collective capacity of smallholder operations.

Food waste has become a dangerous habit: about 1/3 of the food we produce globally (1.3 billion tonnes of the food every year) is lost or wasted

Credit: FAO/Rodger Bosch

The UAE Food Bank Initiative

Some countries have already taken political decisions to institutionalise the efforts of fighting hunger and food waste. Such is the case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has at the beginning of this year launched the UAE Food Bank.

Though it, the UAE has confirmed its political will to institutionally fight hunger and food waste, which will lead the regional efforts in managing food loss and food waste.

The newly established UAE Food Bank will gather many stakeholders to collect excess food from hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and farms. It will store and package the food for distribution, while inedible food will be recycled for different usages, including but not limited to animal feed and fertilisers.

Food waste has become a dangerous habit: about 1/3 of the food we produce globally (1.3 billion tonnes of the food every year) is lost or wasted

Food loss and waste in NENA are estimated at up to 250kg per person and over $60 billion USD annually. The social, economic, and environmental impacts are serious for a region which relies heavily on global food imports, has limited potential to increase food production, and faces scarcity of water and arable land. Reducing food losses and waste is vital for sustainable food systems and regional food security. Credit: FAO

Food loss and waste in Near East North Africa region is estimated at up to 250 kilogrammes per person and over 60 billion dollars annually, thus the reduction of food losses and waste is vital for sustainable food systems and regional food security.

Meanwhile, bad habits can change, global warming can be slowed down, also at the individual level.

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Deaths in Hills: Why and Howhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/deaths-in-hills-why-and-how/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=deaths-in-hills-why-and-how http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/deaths-in-hills-why-and-how/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:18:57 +0000 Minhaj Uddin and Prabir Das http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151052 Hill cutting for illegal establishments is one of the key reasons behind the recent series of landslides in Rangamati, the worst in a decade that killed at least 120 people. Locals say, the green hills of Rangamati have been clawed all over and the trees, that keep the soil together, cleared to make pieces of […]

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By Minhaj Uddin and Prabir Das
Jun 23 2017 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

Hill cutting for illegal establishments is one of the key reasons behind the recent series of landslides in Rangamati, the worst in a decade that killed at least 120 people.

Locals say, the green hills of Rangamati have been clawed all over and the trees, that keep the soil together, cleared to make pieces of flat land for building houses.

Chakma King Debashish Roy, the representative of an ethnic community, says such construction is much different from the settlements of indigenous communities, which does not affect mountains.

“Such construction and engineering practices are not viable and sustainable in the hills,” he said.

Even after the series of landslide, The Daily Star has found numerous such settlements on the walls of clawed mountains in Rangamati, which experts say are in threat.

What is more interesting is the fact that most of these land are government lands, occupied illegally. Watch video to learn more:

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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VIDEO: Yusra Mardini, A Young Refugee, Finds Safety in Her New Homehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/video-yusra-mardini-young-refugee-finds-safety-new-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=video-yusra-mardini-young-refugee-finds-safety-new-home http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/video-yusra-mardini-young-refugee-finds-safety-new-home/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 16:21:56 +0000 UNHCR http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=151070 The United Nations Department of Public Information has launched a new animated video on the dramatic story of Yusra Mardini, a young refugee from conflict-torn Syria who achieved her dream to compete in the Olympics last year. Yusra Mardini was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN […]

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The United Nations Department of Public Information has launched a new animated video on the dramatic story of Yusra Mardini, a young refugee from conflict-torn Syria who achieved her dream to compete in the Olympics last year.

The United Nations Department of Public Information has launched a new animated video on the dramatic story of Yusra Mardini, a young refugee from conflict-torn Syria who achieved her dream to compete in the Olympics last year.

By UNHCR
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 20 2017 (IPS)

The United Nations Department of Public Information has launched a new animated video on the dramatic story of Yusra Mardini, a young refugee from conflict-torn Syria who achieved her dream to compete in the Olympics last year. Yusra Mardini was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on 27 April 2017. The video was produced by the Education Outreach Section in support of the Together Initiative to mark World Refugee day on 20 June and highlight the advent of the International Day of Peace on 21 September.

 
 

 
 

Nearly 66 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes last year, the United Nation refugee agency has reported.  Around 20 people are newly displaced every minute of the day, according to a new report. In its annual Global Trends report, the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR has recorded unprecedented and concerning levels of displacement around the world.
The figure equates to “one person displaced every three seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports, stressing the “very high” pace at which conflict and persecution is forcing people to flee their homes.

“We are used to looking at the world and seeing progress, but there is no progress to be made in terms of conflict and violence that is producing people who have had to flee,” said the Director of UNHCR’s New York Office Ninette Kelley, ahead of World Refugee Day.

In just two decades, the population of forcibly displaced persons doubled from 32 million in 1997 to 65 million in 2016, larger than the total population of the United Kingdom.

Much of the growth was concentrated between 2012 and 2015, and driven largely by the Syrian conflict which, now in its seventh year, has forcibly displaced over 12 million representing over half of the Middle Eastern nation’s population.

 

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World Day to Combat Desertificationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/world-day-to-combat-desertification/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-day-to-combat-desertification http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/world-day-to-combat-desertification/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 11:54:10 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150878 Today’s world is facing an unprecedented level of human mobility and migration is high on the political agenda all over the world. The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly, surpassing 244 million in 2015,growing at a rate faster than the world’s population. Complex Links Behind these numbers are complex links that […]

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By IPS World Desk
ROME, Jun 14 2017 (IPS)

Today’s world is facing an unprecedented level of human mobility and migration is high on the political agenda all over the world.

The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly, surpassing 244 million in 2015,growing at a rate faster than the world’s population.

Complex Links

Behind these numbers are complex links that tie migration to the consequences of environmental degradation, political instability, food insecurity and poverty. Many flee their lands, while many rural communities feel left behind.

 

Migration and land degradation

The 2017 World Day to Combat Desertification (#2017WDCD) will look closely at the important link between migration and land degradation.  It will be the Day to remind everyone of the importance of productive land for assuring nutritious food, generating local employment and contributing to the sustainability, stability and security of places affected by desertification.

The challenges are dire and often the apparent lack of choice or loss of livelihoods can lead to hopelessness.  And yet productive land is a timeless tool for creating wealth.

Re-investment in rural lands

Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, is calling for serious re-investment in rural lands so they can contribute to productive rather than negative trends.

Robust and sustained investment in rural lands can create local jobs and give households and communities a fighting chance to thrive. That in turn will strengthen national security and future prospects for sustainability.

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5 Devastating Cyclones in Bangladeshhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/5-devastating-cyclones-in-bangladesh/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-devastating-cyclones-in-bangladesh http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/5-devastating-cyclones-in-bangladesh/#respond Tue, 30 May 2017 05:56:33 +0000 Star Online Report http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150671 Bangladesh, the delta country, has been in the line of a few devastating tropical cyclones. In their trail, the cyclones have left behind complete chaos, death and despair. As the country learns to adapt and respond to this natural disaster more efficiently, we take a look back at some of the worst tropical cyclones to […]

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By Star Online Report
May 30 2017 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

Bangladesh, the delta country, has been in the line of a few devastating tropical cyclones. In their trail, the cyclones have left behind complete chaos, death and despair. As the country learns to adapt and respond to this natural disaster more efficiently, we take a look back at some of the worst tropical cyclones to have hit the country.

 
1970 Bhola cyclone

Landfall: November 12, 1970

Casualty: More than 500,000

Affected areas: Chittagong, Barguna, Khepupara, Patuakhali, north of Char Burhanuddin, Char Tazumuddin and south of Maijdi, Haringhata

Damages: More than 400,000 houses and 3,500 educational institutions were destroyed

 

1991 cyclone

Landfall: April 29, 1991

Casualty: 150,000

Affected areas: Chittagong district of southeastern Bangladesh

Damages: As many as 10 million people became homeless

 

Cyclone Sidr

Landfall: November 15, 2007

Casualty: Up to 10,000, according to Red Crescent Society

Affected areas: Bagerhat, Barisal, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Khulna and Satkhira

Damages: Livestock, farms and feeds worth more than Tk 130 crore were destroyed

 

Cyclone Aila

Landfall: May 25, 2009

Casualty: 190

Affected areas: Southwestern coastal regions of Bangladesh

Damages: 6,000 kilometres of roads damaged, more than 500,000 people became homeless, complete destruction of 275 primary schools and damage to 1,942 schools

 

Cyclone Roanu

Landfall: May 21, 2016

Casualty: 26

Most affected areas: Sandwip, Hatia, Kutubdia, Sitakundu and Feni

Damages: Around one lakh houses were damaged and about 150,000 families were affected

 

Sources:
Information taken from various sources including UNICEF and Red Crescent Society

Photos: AFP and file photos

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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Change Maker: The Good Shepherdhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/change-maker-the-good-shepherd/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=change-maker-the-good-shepherd http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/change-maker-the-good-shepherd/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 19:31:04 +0000 Aklakur Rahman Akash http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150500 Wife of runaway husband in Savar rewrites her fortune rearing sheep

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Farida Khatun among her sheep in Savar on the outskirts of the capital. She turned her fortunes around with sheep farming after her husband left her. The photo was taken recently. Photo: Palash Khan

By Aklakur Rahman Akash
May 17 2017 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

Two months into her pregnancy, Farida Khatun suffered a fate all too familiar yet often glossed over; her husband, Atar Mia, left her and went off to marry another woman. Given this was sometime in the early 80s, Farida Khatun could have been forgiven for resigning to a future full of gloom. But like the rose that grows from concrete, Farida’s resilience would spur her on to blossom to not only survive the odds stacked against her but resoundingly conquer them. And all that with a lamb purchased for Tk 80.

It is now hard to believe how Farida Khatun, 50, redefined her fate, along with prevailing stereotypes of gender roles. Initially, she began living with her parents and gave birth to her son, Babul Hosen. Her parents often tried to convince her to remarry. They thought this would be the only way to ensure a bright future for their daughter. But Farida Khatun was determined to not rely on another man, especially with her newly born son’s future in the balance.

It was in 1985 that her brother, Abul Hossen, bought a lamb for Tk 80 and gave it to her. Back then, Farida’s son was only two years old. Her brother’s gift was given in the hopes of offering his sister some sustainability for her future. He had probably never imagined that it would end up with her one day becoming the proud owner of a sheep farm.

During a recent visit to Kumarkhoda Ashrayan Project in Savar, where Farida Khatun currently lives, The Daily Star correspondent found her in her farm, surrounded by 49 sheep. All this that stood before her today started with that one lamb. “When my husband left me, I was only 17 years old. Still, I wanted to do something on my own. But all I had was just a calf of a sheep. So I had to start with that,” Farida says.

While Farida’s tenacity itself is praiseworthy, her compassion for her sheep is an even more compelling aspect of her story. Without any formal training and 2.5 decimals of land only, Farida still went to work with a purpose. She turned the veranda adjacent to her room sheep shed. Every evening, the sheep enter the shed and sleep till 10:00am, in close proximity to Farida and under her watchful eyes.

Every morning, Farida herself takes her sheep out into the fields to graze and returns to join them after lunch. “I have been doing so for the past 32 years,” she says. Salina Begum, Farida’s daughter in law, explains the depths of her mother-in-law’s compassion. “If any sheep is found dead, she goes into mourning and refuses to eat. It’s like a member of her family has passed,” she says. Salina also adds that even the sale of a sheep plunges her mother-in-law into melancholy. The sheep, in return, give her their outright loyalty. “The sheep follow her wherever she goes,” Salina says adding that Farida will rear sheep till the last breath because they are what gave her a new lease of life.

oday, Farida is a successful entrepreneur who inspires others around her. Razea Begum, one of her neighbours, also recently bought a pair of female sheep from Farida for Tk 6000 and is now also daring to dream. “I want to change my fortune like Farida,” Razea says. Salma Begum, another neighbour, also aspires to rear sheep. “Before I used to pass a lot of free time. Now I am trying to follow in Farida Apa’s footsteps,” she says. While Farida Khatun has become a trailblazer and an inspiration, she has not forgotten what began it all. Her son, now all grown up and a father of three lovely children, has his own flower business but Farida continues to bear all the costs of her family.

“I bear the education cost of my grand-children too. I even bought my daughter-in-law gold ornaments for her hands, ears and neck,” Farida says, laughing. Her laughter is raw. It is pure and it sounds like it had been waiting for a long time. Farida doesn’t look back on what once was any longer. She looks forward and she sees positivity. Circumstances can change if one has the will and the support system to change them. Farida had both and now she stands as a testament to what can be done when a human spirit refuses to break, stereotypes be damned.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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Unlocking the Diaspora Development Potentialhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/unlocking-the-diaspora-development-potential/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unlocking-the-diaspora-development-potential http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/unlocking-the-diaspora-development-potential/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 13:11:47 +0000 Elena Pasquini http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150417 ‘Diaspora is the biggest development community that exists in the world’, according to Pedro De Vasconcelos, manager of IFAD‘s Financial Facility for Remittances. However, its potential is still largely untapped. In 2015, over 200 million migrants sent home about 450 billion dollars in remittances. An amount which is three times the official development assistance and […]

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By Elena L. Pasquini
ROME, May 12 2017 (degrees of latitude)

‘Diaspora is the biggest development community that exists in the world’, according to Pedro De Vasconcelos, manager of IFAD‘s Financial Facility for Remittances. However, its potential is still largely untapped.

In 2015, over 200 million migrants sent home about 450 billion dollars in remittances. An amount which is three times the official development assistance and exceeds foreign direct investments in most countries. Recent estimates by the World Bank suggest a decline of 2.4 percent in 2016, whilst a growth of 3.3 percent is expected in 2017.

De Vasconcelos strongly believes that the money migrants send back to their home countries can be leveraged to stimulate investments, boost development and pull people out of poverty.

How to exploit migration-related inflow of capital to spur growth and build prosperity? Reducing transaction costs is not enough to, according to De Vasconcelos. Migrants and their families need financial inclusion, which is access to basic financial services, such as payments, savings, including current accounts, credit and insurance. Senders and recipients of remittances need options to the cash-to-cash system.

Where cash is king

A World Bank and IFAD report indicates that ‘two billion or 38 per cent of working-age adults globally have no access to financial services delivered by regulated financial institutions, with 73 per cent of poor people unbanked’. However, millions of them receive remittances.

‘The reason they are not banked is because those who provide financial services think that these people are poor and have no money. That’s it’, De Vasconcelos told Degrees of Latitude in an exclusive interview.

That’s a ‘cliché’, he said. They get regularly what is equivalent to a monthly salary. ‘The majority of them want financial democracy, [but] they are living in a world where cash is king… They are equipped to some extent, with a little more of help, to be part of a financial democratic revolution’, he added. ‘Give them the options and see if cash remains king’.

When remittances received through regulated financial institutions, families plan for long-term investment goals, savings can be reinvested in the local community and they can “function as a buffer against instability at the macroeconomic level”, according to IFAD and World Bank. ‘Think of you’, without a banking account where to credit wages, without a credit card, no access to online banking services or without a credit history: ‘What do you do? You are going back to cash and hopefully you have it, but that’s it. How can you leverage anything? What you are having in your hands is what you have and what you will get’, De Vasconcelos said.

In the agricultural sector, for instance, financial institutions do not provide services or loans to farmers on the assumption that agriculture is a risky business without taking into consideration the remittances they receive. ‘Financial institutions just don’t see the opportunities that exist [with remittances]’, he said. ‘It is a sector of complete missed opportunity over missed opportunity … and it’s not just doing good, doing the right thing, it’s a win-win situation.’

De Vasconcelos has no doubt: ‘Financial inclusion is the biggest opportunity that exists.’

Learning, saving and investing

Financial inclusion requires the implementation of strategies to let offer and demand meet each other. Families need financial literacy to manage financial services, but financial institutions need to understand that banking senders and recipients of remittances is possible.

With the Financial Facility for Remittances established ten years ago, IFAD aims at testing mechanisms for accessing remittances in rural areas, but also promoting investment and entrepreneurship, as well as diaspora engagement in their countries of origin. ‘We are a laboratory’, De Vasconcelos said. ‘We saw dramatic changes’ testing new financial products with financial literacy programmes.

In Sri-Lanka, for instance, a project in collaboration with the Hatton National Bank helped senders and recipients gain access to financial services. The bank designed an account targeted for the migrants’ needs, linking savings to remittances and then providing housing or business loans. After the pilot, demand increased and Hatton Bank opened several branches offering remittance services.

In Italy, IFAD engaged Philippine diaspora with a training to learn how to budget, manage daily expenses, and increase savings. ‘That was a paradigm change … Now that [they] have saved, that know how to save, we showed that there are other options … Don’t give the money away, maybe you can invest.’ Many decided to actually invest in agricultural businesses in their communities.

Scaling up

IFAD’s projects are pilots designed to show what works and what doesn’t. Scaling up requires the involvement of multiple actors, from private sector to governments, and the mainstreaming of remittances into the programmes of many international organizations, according to De Vasconcelos. ‘Ministries of agricultures, [for instance]. It is imperative they understand that their target groups receive remittances. And the majority of them not even know or care. They think that it’s not their problem’, he said.

On 16 June, the International Day of Family Remittances will be celebrated at the United Nations headquarters, in the context of the fifth Global Forum on Remittances just one month before the High-Level Political Forum that will assess the advancement in the implementation of the first 10 Sustainable Development Goals. ‘…. If you want to achieve the SDGs, you have to look at this phenomenon that is affecting one out of ten people in planet.… One remittance affects five people on average’, De Vasconcelos stressed.

Maybe remittances are not the silver bullet, but while policymakers try to find solutions on ‘how to transform billion into trillions, and that’s what you need to achieve the goals’, migrants have sent trillions of dollars back home, according to De Vasconcelos. ‘Can you maximise that dollar when they send it? Can you try to make that dollar convert into two … by offering more options? You could do that. That’s the beautiful part of this story, it’s not a question of money for once. It’s a question of will, it’s [the] question of facilitating. The money is there, what you need is just the actors to make it happened’, he said.

‘Remittances are tricky’, De Vasconcelos noted. The risk of doing nothing, of remaining in a cash-to-cash system is to keep families dependent on what they receive from abroad.

This story was originally published by Degrees of Latitude

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FEATURED VIDEO: Searching for Solutions to Disaster Risk Managementhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/searching-for-solutions-to-disaster-risk-management/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=searching-for-solutions-to-disaster-risk-management http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/searching-for-solutions-to-disaster-risk-management/#respond Sun, 30 Apr 2017 10:29:29 +0000 Desmond Brown http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150313 Climate change remains inextricably linked to the challenges of disaster risk reduction (DRR). And according to the head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Robert Glasser, the reduction of greenhouse gases is “the single most urgent global disaster risk treatment”. Glasser was addressing the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction […]

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By Desmond Brown
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 30 2017 (IPS)

Climate change remains inextricably linked to the challenges of disaster risk reduction (DRR). And according to the head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Robert Glasser, the reduction of greenhouse gases is “the single most urgent global disaster risk treatment”.

Glasser was addressing the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas. Held recently in Montreal, the gathering included more than 1,000 delegates from 50 countries, including the Caribbean.
Head of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Ronald Jackson, who was a panelist in a forum discussing the linkages between disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development, said the region needs to marry its indigenous solutions to disaster risk management with modern technology.

 

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FEATURED VIDEO: Harnessing the Eco Superpowers of Bamboohttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/featured-video-harnessing-the-eco-superpowers-of-bamboo/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=featured-video-harnessing-the-eco-superpowers-of-bamboo http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/featured-video-harnessing-the-eco-superpowers-of-bamboo/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:39:15 +0000 Desmond Brown http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150192 The bamboo plant can be found in abundance in several Caribbean countries, but the director of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Dr. Hans Friederich, says its importance in dealing with climate change has been missed by many of these countries. “Bamboo and rattan, to a lesser extent, have been in a way […]

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Bamboo sequesters carbon at rates comparable to or greater than many tree species.

Bamboo sequesters carbon at rates comparable to or greater than many tree species.

By Desmond Brown
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 28 2017 (IPS)

The bamboo plant can be found in abundance in several Caribbean countries, but the director of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Dr. Hans Friederich, says its importance in dealing with climate change has been missed by many of these countries.
“Bamboo and rattan, to a lesser extent, have been in a way forgotten as mechanisms that can help countries both with mitigation of climate change and with adaptation. And I think, certainly for the Caribbean, for Jamaica, both aspects are important,” Friederich told IPS.

“Mitigation, because carbon is sequestered by bamboo. It is a plant, it does photosynthesis, but it happens to be the fastest growing plant in the world so the absorption of CO2 by bamboo forests is quite significant.”

INBAR has facilitated a trip to China for a group of Jamaicans to show them how the Chinese are using bamboo as a source of energy, as a charcoal source – to replicate that intelligence and that experience in Jamaica and help the island develop a bamboo industry.

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Video message by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2017http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/video-message-by-un-secretary-general-antonio-on-the-occasion-of-world-press-freedom-day-2017/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=video-message-by-un-secretary-general-antonio-on-the-occasion-of-world-press-freedom-day-2017 http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/video-message-by-un-secretary-general-antonio-on-the-occasion-of-world-press-freedom-day-2017/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:01:36 +0000 UNESCO http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150180 Video message by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2017

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

By UNESCO
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 28 2017 (IPS)

Video message by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2017

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