Inter Press ServiceSlideshow – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Mon, 18 Dec 2017 15:55:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.4 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/#respond 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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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 for all photos: Farid Ahmed/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

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)

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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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SLIDESHOW: When Women Have Land Rights, the Tide Begins to Turnhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/slideshow-women-land-rights-tide-begins-turn/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=slideshow-women-land-rights-tide-begins-turn http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/06/slideshow-women-land-rights-tide-begins-turn/#respond Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:28:49 +0000 Manipadma Jena http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153490 In Meghalaya, India’s northeastern biodiversity hotspot, all three major tribes are matrilineal. Children take the mother’s family name, while daughters inherit the family lands. Because women own land and have always decided what is grown on it and what is conserved, the state not only has a strong climate-resistant food system but also some of […]

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Women's secure tenure rights lead to several positive development outcomes for them and their families, including resilience to climate change shocks, economic productivity, food security, health, and education. Here a young tribal woman works shoulder to shoulder with her husband planting rice saplings in India's Rayagada province. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

Women's secure tenure rights lead to several positive development outcomes for them and their families, including resilience to climate change shocks, economic productivity, food security, health, and education. Here a young tribal woman works shoulder to shoulder with her husband planting rice saplings in India's Rayagada province. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

By Manipadma Jena
NEW DELHI, Jun 26 2017 (IPS)

In Meghalaya, India’s northeastern biodiversity hotspot, all three major tribes are matrilineal. Children take the mother’s family name, while daughters inherit the family lands.

Because women own land and have always decided what is grown on it and what is conserved, the state not only has a strong climate-resistant food system but also some of the rarest edible and medicinal plants, researchers said.

 

Women's secure tenure rights lead to several positive development outcomes for them and their families, including resilience to climate change shocks, economic productivity, food security, health, and education. Here a young tribal woman works shoulder to shoulder with her husband planting rice saplings in India's Rayagada province. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

Women’s secure tenure rights lead to several positive development outcomes for them and their families, including resilience to climate change shocks, economic productivity, food security, health, and education. Here a young tribal woman works shoulder to shoulder with her husband planting rice saplings in India’s Rayagada province. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

 

While their ancient culture empowers Meghalaya’s indigenous women with land ownership that vastly improves their resilience to the food shocks climate change springs on them, for an overwhelming majority of women in developing countries, culture does not allow them even a voice in family or community land management. Nor do national laws support their rights to own the very land they sow and harvest to feed their families.

Legal protections for indigenous and rural women to own and manage property are inadequate or missing in 30 low- and middle-income countries, according to a new report from Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

 

Mary Wanjiru is a farmer from Nyeri County in central Kenya. Granting land rights to women can raise farm production by 20-30 per cent in developing countries. Credit: Miriam Gathigah/IPS

 

This finding, now quantified, means that much of the recent progress that indigenous and local communities have gained in acquiring legal recognition of their commonly held territory could be built on shaky ground.

“Generally speaking, international legal protections for indigenous and rural women’s tenure rights have yet to be reflected in the national laws that regulate women’s daily interactions with community forests,” Stephanie Keene, Tenure Analyst for the RRI, a global coalition working for forest land and resources rights of indigenous and local communities, told IPS via an email interview.

Together these 30 countries contain three-quarters of the developing world’s forests, which remain critical to mitigate global warming and natural disasters, including droughts and land degradation.

Bonificia Huamán (2nd- L), carries out a communal task with other women in Llullucha, a Quechua community located 3,553 meters above sea level, where 80 families practice subsistence agriculture, overcoming the challenges of the climate in the Andean region of Cuzco, Peru. Credit: Mariela Jara / IPS

Bonificia Huamán (2nd- L), carries out a communal task with other women in Llullucha, a Quechua community located 3,553 meters above sea level, where 80 families practice subsistence agriculture, overcoming the challenges of the climate in the Andean region of Cuzco, Peru. Rights of rural women have seen uneven progress in Latin America Credit: Mariela Jara / IPS

In South Asia, distress migration owing to climate events and particularly droughts is high, as over three-quarters of the population is dependent on agriculture, out of which more than half are subsistence farmers depending on rains for irrigation.

“For many indigenous people, it is the women who are the food producers and who manage their customary lands and forests. Safeguarding their rights will cement the rights of their communities to collectively own the lands and forests they have protected and depended on for generations.” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

 

In Ghana, the stability of a woman’s marriage and good relations with male relatives are critical factors in maintaining her land rights. Credit: FAO

 

“Indigenous and local communities in the ten analyzed Asian countries provide the most consistent recognition of women’s community-level inheritance rights. However, this regional observation is not seen in India and Nepal, where inadequate laws concerning inheritance and community-level dispute resolution cause women’s forest rights to be particularly vulnerable,” Keene told IPS of the RRI study.

“None of the 5 legal frameworks analyzed in Nepal address community-level inheritance or dispute resolution. Although India’s Forest Rights Act does recognize the inheritability of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers’ land, the specific rights of women to community-level inheritance and dispute resolution are not explicitly acknowledged. Inheritance in India may be regulated by civil, religious or personal laws, some of which fail to explicitly guarantee equal inheritance rights for wives and daughters,” Keene added.

 

Desertification, the silent, invisible crisis, threatens one-third of global land area. This photo taken in 2013 records efforts to green portions of the Kubuqi Desert, the seventh largest in China. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

Desertification, the silent, invisible crisis, threatens one-third of global land area. This photo taken in 2013 records efforts to green portions of the Kubuqi Desert, the seventh largest in China. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

 

Pointing out challenges behind the huge gaps in women’s land rights under international laws and rights recognized by South Asian governments, Madhu Sarin, who was involved in drafting of India’s Forest Rights Act and now pushes for its implementation, told IPS, “Where governments have ratified international conventions, they do in principle agree to make national laws compatible with them. However, there remains a huge gap between such commitments and their translation into practice. Firstly, most governments don’t have mechanisms or binding requirements in place for ensuring such compatibility.”

“Further, the intended beneficiaries of gender-just laws remain unorganised and unaware about them,” she added.

 

Women restore degraded land in southern India under a government-funded program. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

Women restore degraded land in southern India under a government-funded program. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

 

Women’s land rights, recurring droughts and creeping desertification

According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), one way to address droughts that cause more deaths and displaces more people than any other natural disaster, and to halt desertification – the silent, invisible crisis that threatens one-third of global land area – is to bring about pressing legal reforms to establish gender parity in farm and forest land ownership and its management.

 

Peruvian peasant women working on the family plot of land near the village of Padre Rumi in the Andean department of Huancavelica. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

 

“Poor rural women in developing countries are critical to the survival of their families. Fertile land is their lifeline. But the number of people negatively affected by land degradation is growing rapidly. Crop failures, water scarcity and the migration of traditional crops are damaging rural livelihoods. Action to halt the loss of more fertile land must focus on households. At this level, land use is based on the roles assigned to men and women. This is where the tide can begin to turn,” says Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, in its 2017 study.

Closing the gender gap in agriculture alone would increase yields on women’s farms by 20 to 30 percent and total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent, the study quotes the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as saying.

 

 

An Indian tribal woman holds up her land tenure document secure in the knowledge that now she can plan long term for her two sons. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

An Indian tribal woman holds up her land tenure document secure in the knowledge that now she can plan long term for her two sons. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

 

Why the gender gap must close in farm and forest rights

The reality on the ground is, however, not even close to approaching this gender parity so essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 5 which connect directly with land rights.

Climate change is ushering in new population dynamics. As men’s out-migration from indigenous and local communities continues to rise due to fall in land productivity, population growth and increasing outside opportunities for wage-labor, more women are left behind as de facto land managers, assuming even greater responsibilities in communities and households.

The importance of protecting the full spectrum of women’s property rights becomes even more urgent as the number of women-led households in rural areas around the world continues to grow. The percentage of female-led households is increasing in half of the world’s 15 largest countries by population, including India and Pakistan.

 

Women are pivotal to addressing hunger, malnutrition and poverty especially in developing countries

Women farmers clearing abandoned farmland in the drought-affected Nachol village in Northern Bangladesh. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

 

Although there is no updated data on the growth of women-led households, the policy research group International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in its 2014 study found that from 2000 to 2010, slightly less than half of the world’s urban population growth could be ascribed to migration. The contribution of migration is considerably higher in Asia, it found, where urbanisation is almost 60 percent and is expected to continue growing, although at a declining rate.”

“Unless women have equal standing in all laws governing indigenous lands, their communities stand on fragile ground,” cautioned Tauli-Corpuz.

Without legal protections for women, community lands are vulnerable to theft and exploitation that threatens the world’s tropical forests that form a critical bulwark against climate change, as well as efforts to eradicate poverty among rural communities.

With the increasing onslaught of large industries on community lands worldwide, tenure rights of women are fundamental to their continued cultural identity and natural resource governance, according to the RRI study.

 

Zimbabwe’s legislation is silent on the issue of women’s rights to inherit communal land. And upon their husband’s deaths, many widows find themselves evicted from their matrimonial homes. Credit: Michelle Chifamba/IPS

 

“When women’s rights to access, use, and control community forests and resources are insecure, and especially when women’s right to meaningfully participate in community-level governance decisions is not respected, their ability to fulfill substantial economic and cultural responsibilities are compromised, causing entire families and communities to suffer,” said Keene.

Moreover, several studies have established that women are differently and disproportionately affected by community-level shocks such as climate change, natural disasters, conflict and large-scale land acquisitions, further underscoring the fortification of women’s land rights an urgent priority.

With growing feminization of farming as men out-migrate, and the rise in women’s education, gender-inequitable tenure practices cannot be sustained over time, the RRI study concludes. But achieving gender equity in land rights will call for tremendous political will and societal change, particularly in patriarchal South Asia, researchers said.

 

Having land has made all the difference to Zar Bibi, a 60-year-old widow in Pakistan (centre). Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS

Having land has made all the difference to Zar Bibi, a 60-year-old widow in Pakistan (centre). Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS

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SLIDESHOW: Drought Highlights Ethiopia’s IDP Dilemmahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/slideshow-drought-highlights-ethiopias-idp-dilemma/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=slideshow-drought-highlights-ethiopias-idp-dilemma http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/slideshow-drought-highlights-ethiopias-idp-dilemma/#respond Thu, 11 May 2017 11:07:25 +0000 James Jeffrey http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=153486 Displaced pastoralists gather around newly arrived drums of brown water as a water truck speeds off to make further deliveries to settlements that have sprung up along the main road running out of Gode, one of the major urban centers in Ethiopia’s Somali region. Looking at the drums’ brackish-looking contents, a government official explains the […]

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Women and children caught in a dust-laden gust at an IDP settlement 60km south of the town of Gode, reachable only along a dirt track through the desiccated landscape. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Women and children caught in a dust-laden gust at an IDP settlement 60km south of the town of Gode, reachable only along a dirt track through the desiccated landscape. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

By James Jeffrey
GODE, Ethiopia, May 11 2017 (IPS)

Displaced pastoralists gather around newly arrived drums of brown water as a water truck speeds off to make further deliveries to settlements that have sprung up along the main road running out of Gode, one of the major urban centers in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

Women encountered in the refugee camps around Dolo Odo said that though children weren’t getting as much food as they would like, they were relatively healthy. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Women encountered in the refugee camps around Dolo Odo said that though children weren’t getting as much food as they would like, they were relatively healthy. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Looking at the drums’ brackish-looking contents, a government official explains the sediment will soon settle and the water has been treated, making it safe to drink—despite appearances.“For those who have lost everything, all they can now do is go to a government assistance site for food and water.” --Charlie Mason, humanitarian director at Save the Children Ethiopia

A total of 58 internally displaced person (IDP) settlements in the region are currently receiving assistance in the form of water trucking and food supplies, according to the government.

But 222 sites containing nearly 400,000 displaced individuals were identified in a survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) between Nov. and Dec. 2016.

The majority have been forced to move by one of the worst droughts in living memory gripping the Horn of Africa. In South Sudan famine has been declared, while in neighbouring Somalia and Yemen famine is a real possibility.

Despite being afflicted by the same climate and failing rains as neighbouring Somalia, the situation in Ethiopia’s Somali region isn’t as dire thanks to it remaining relatively secure and free of conflict.

But its drought is inexorably getting more serious. IOM’s most recent IDP numbers represent a doubling of displaced individuals and sites from an earlier survey conducted between Sept. and Oct. 2016.

Hence humanitarian workers in the region are increasingly concerned about overstretch, coupled with lack of resources due to the world reeling from successive and protracted crises.

The blunt fallout from this is that currently not everyone can be helped—and whether you crossed an international border makes all the difference.

“When people cross borders, the world is more interested,” says Hamidu Jalleh, working for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Gode. “Especially if they are fleeing conflict, it is a far more captivating issue. But the issue of internally displaced persons doesn’t ignite the same attention.”

An old man squatting outside his shelter in an IDP settlement in the region around Gode. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

An old man squatting outside his shelter in an IDP settlement in the region around Gode. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

In January 2017 the Ethiopian government and humanitarian partners requested 948 million dollars to help 5.6 million drought-affected people, mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Belated seasonal rains arrived at the start of April in some parts of the Somali region, bringing some relief in terms of access to water and pasture. But that’s scant consolation for displaced pastoralists who don’t have animals left to graze and water.

“Having lost most of their livestock, they have also spent out the money they had in reserve to try to keep their last few animals alive,” says Charlie Mason, humanitarian director at Save the Children Ethiopia. “For those who have lost everything, all they can now do is go to a government assistance site for food and water.”

Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, crossing a border entitles refugees to international protection, whereas IDPs remain the responsibility of national governments, often falling through the gaps as a result.

In the early 1990s, however, human rights advocates began pushing the issue of IDPs to rectify this mismatch. Nowadays IDPs are much more on the international humanitarian agenda.

Displaced pastoralists inspecting a dead camel on the outskirts of an IDP settlement in the region around Gode. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Displaced pastoralists inspecting a dead camel on the outskirts of an IDP settlement in the region around Gode. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

But IDPs remain a sensitive topic, certainly for national governments, their existence testifying to the likes of internal conflict and crises.

“It’s only in the last year-and-a-half we’ve been able to start talking about IDPs,” says the director of a humanitarian agency covering Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But the government is becoming more open about the reality—it knows it can’t ignore the issue.”

The Ethiopian government has far fewer qualms about discussing the estimated 800,000 refugees it hosts.

Ethiopia maintains an open-door policy to refugees in marked contrast to strategies of migrant reduction increasingly being adopted in the West.

Just outside Dolo Odo, a town at the Somali region’s southern extremity, a few kilometres away from where Ethiopia’s border intersects with Kenya and Somalia, are two enormous refugee camps each housing about 40,000 Somalis, lines of corrugated iron roofs glinting in the sun.

Amina, a former pastoralist and now displaced by drought, tends a garden that is nourished by the run off from a nearby water point in an IDP camp in Somalia. Credit: Muse Mohammed/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Life is far from easy. Refugees complain of headaches and itchy skin due to the pervading heat of 38 – 42 degrees Celsius, and of a recent reduction in their monthly allowance of cereals and grains from 16kg to 13.5kg.

But, at the same time, they are guaranteed that ration, along with water, health and education services—none of which are available to IDPs in a settlement on the outskirts of Dolo Odo.

Displaced women and children in Airstrip Area Displacement Site, Dolo Ado, Somali Region. Photo: Rikka Tupaz\/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

“We don’t oppose support for refugees—they should be helped as they face bigger problems,” says 70-year-old Abiyu Alsow. “But we are frustrated as we aren’t getting anything from the government or NGOs.”

Abiyu spoke amid a cluster of women, children and a few old men beside makeshift domed shelters fashioned out of sticks and fabric. Husbands were away either trying to source money from relatives, looking for daily labour in the town, or making charcoal for family use and to sell.

“I’ve never seen a drought like this in all my life—during previous droughts some animals would die, but not all of them,” says 80-year-old Abikar Mohammed.

Displaced pastoralists helping a weak camel to its feet (it’s not strong enough to lift its own weight) using poles beneath its belly. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Displaced pastoralists helping a weak camel to its feet (it’s not strong enough to lift its own weight) using poles beneath its belly. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

As centres of government administration, commerce, and NGO activity, the likes of Gode and Dollo Ado and their residents appear to be weathering the drought relatively well.

But as soon as you leave city limits you begin to spot the animal carcasses littering the landscape, and recognise the smell of carrion in the air.

Livestock are the backbone of this region’s economy. Dryland specialists estimate that pastoralists in southern Ethiopia have lost in excess of 200 million dollars worth of cattle, sheep, goats, camels and equines. And the meat and milk from livestock are the life-support system of pastoralists.

“People were surviving from what they could forage to eat or sell but now there is nothing left,” says the anonymous director, who visited a settlement 70km east of Dolo Odo where 650 displaced pastoralist families weren’t receiving aid.

The problem with this drought is the pastoralists aren’t the only ones to have spent out their reserves.

Women and children at an IDP settlement 60km south of the town of Gode, reachable only along a dirt track through the desiccated landscape. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Women and children at an IDP settlement 60km south of the town of Gode, reachable only along a dirt track through the desiccated landscape. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Last year the Ethiopian government spent an unprecedented 700 million dollars while the international community made up the rest of the 1.8 billion dollars needed to assist more than 10 million people effected by an El Niño-induced drought.

“Last year’s response by the government was pretty remarkable,” says Edward Brown, World Vision’s Ethiopia national director. “We dodged a bullet. But now the funding gaps are larger on both sides. The UN’s ability is constrained as it looks for big donors—you’ve already got the U.S. talking of slashing foreign aid.”

Many within the humanitarian community praise Ethiopia’s handling of refugees. But concerns remain, especially when it comes to IDPs. It’s estimated there are more than 696,000 displaced individuals at 456 sites throughout Ethiopia, according to IOM.

“This country receives billions of dollars in aid, there is so much bi-lateral support but there is a huge disparity between aid to refugees and IDPs,” says the anonymous director. “How is that possible?”

Security in Ethiopia’s Somali region is one of the strictest in Ethiopia. As a result, the region is relatively safe and peaceful, despite insurgent threats along the border with Somalia.

But some rights organizations claim strict restrictions hamper international media and NGOs, making it difficult to accurately gauge the drought’s severity and resultant deaths, as well as constraining trade and movement, thereby exacerbating the crisis further.

Certainly, the majority of NGOs appear to exist in a state of perpetual anxiety about talking to media and being kicked out of the region.

Women and children caught in a dust-laden gust at an IDP settlement 60km south of the town of Gode, reachable only along a dirt track through the desiccated landscape. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Women and children caught in a dust-laden gust at an IDP settlement 60km south of the town of Gode, reachable only along a dirt track through the desiccated landscape. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

While no one was willing to go on the record, some NGO workers talk of a disconnect between the federal government in the Ethiopian capital and the semi-autonomous regional government, and of the risks of people starving and mass casualties unless more resources are provided soon.

Already late, if as forecast the main spring rains prove sparse, livestock losses could easily double as rangeland resources—pasture and water—won’t regenerate to the required level to support livestock populations through to the short autumn rains.

Yet even if resources can be found to cover the current crisis, the increasingly pressing issue remains of how to build capacity and prepare for the future.

In the Somali region’s northern Siti zone, IDP camps from droughts in 2015 and 2016 are still full. It takes from 7 to 10 years for herders to rebuild flocks and herds where losses are more than 40 percent, according to research by the International Livestock Research Institute and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“Humanitarian responses around the world are managing to get people through these massive crises to prevent loss of life,” Mason says. “But there’s not enough financial backing to get people back on their feet again.”

Animal carcass in Dolo Ado, Somali Region. Photo: Rikka Tupaz/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

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New Effort to Assist People Displaced by Conflict in the Borno Region in Nigeriahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2016/12/new-effort-to-assist-people-displaced-by-conflict-in-the-borno-region-in-nigeria/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-effort-to-assist-people-displaced-by-conflict-in-the-borno-region-in-nigeria http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/12/new-effort-to-assist-people-displaced-by-conflict-in-the-borno-region-in-nigeria/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:55:07 +0000 IKEA Foundation http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=148055 Médecins Sans Frontières and IKEA Foundation call on other funders to step up and save lives - JOINT PRESS RELEASE

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Nigeria Ngala: The humanitarian situation in Borno is catastrophic and more assistance is needed, both in remote and accessible areas in Borno. MSF teams have done a cross-border assessment in Ngala and Gambaru in Nigeria where over 200.000 people are living in disastrous conditions and are in desperate need of food and aid. The situation there is similar to what has already been seen in enclaves like Bama, Banki and Gwoza and shows the devastating impact on the population of the conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military forces. Disastrous living conditions and lack of food are killing more people than violence. MSF teams provided food and medical care and are scaling up assistance. September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

Nigeria Ngala: The humanitarian situation in Borno is catastrophic and more assistance is needed, both in remote and accessible areas in Borno. MSF teams have done a cross-border assessment in Ngala and Gambaru in Nigeria where over 200.000 people are living in disastrous conditions and are in desperate need of food and aid. The situation there is similar to what has already been seen in enclaves like Bama, Banki and Gwoza and shows the devastating impact on the population of the conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military forces. Disastrous living conditions and lack of food are killing more people than violence. MSF teams provided food and medical care and are scaling up assistance. September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

By IKEA Foundation
LEIDEN, The Netherlands, Dec 2 2016 (IPS)

As hundreds of thousands flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria to seek safety from intensifying conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military, the IKEA Foundation has given Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) €1 million to provide lifesaving medical assistance.

The conflict in Northeastern Nigeria started in 2009, as a result of the fighting, countless families have been force to flee their homes and sought safety in overcrowded cities or camps for displaced people Tragically, many are losing their lives and their loved ones to illness, hunger and violence.

MSF is working tirelessly to help displaced survive the biggest killers inside the camps: measles, diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition.

The IKEA Foundation is leading the way with a €1 million grant and hopes that other funders will step forward to help MSF save even more lives.

MSF is using the funding to implement a range of health activities for the most vulnerable.

More than 7,500 children under five have been vaccinated against measles and have been provided with emergency food rations. Fourteen per cent of children screened for malnutrition were suffering from the deadliest form of malnutrition and received therapeutic food and treatment. MSF is also providing antenatal care for pregnant women, referring critical patients for hospital care and is delivering large quantities of clean water.

Shining a light on unseen emergencies
Around the world, MSF gives medical care to thousands of people suffering from emergencies that receive little or no international assistance.

Thanks to a special agreement with the IKEA Foundation signed only a couple of weeks ago, MSF can quickly access grants to help children and their families survive these emergencies.

“Through this grant, the IKEA Foundation is giving a financial boost for our emergency action on the ground and is also working with us to shine a light on this crisis,” says Bruno Jochum, General Director of MSF.

“When our teams first arrived in Banki in July, we discovered some 25,000 people living in catastrophic conditions in a camp without access to food, water and medical care. The health and humanitarian situation was beyond critical with mortality rates three times above the emergency threshold. Fourteen per cent of the children screened by MSF were suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and nearly one in three children was malnourished. Since then, we have been providing regular assistance in Banki, and we now see an improvement in the health situation. This shows the positive impact of humanitarian aid, although much more remains to be done.” Said Hugues Robert, MSF Programme Manager for Nigeria.

“This emergency has not received the kind of international attention it deserves considering the scale of suffering going on,” he continues. “The IKEA Foundation’s support of our lifesaving medical action is a recognition that more needs to be done, and fast.”

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, agrees. “Children and their families have the right to health and protection, which is why the IKEA Foundation is proud to support MSF’s lifesaving services during unseen emergencies and calls on other funders to do the same.”

Ngala, Nigeria: Emergency aid to victims of violence and displacement, On 13 November, MSF teams from Cameroon managed to access Ngala in Nigeria for the second time. Some 78,000 internally displaced people live there in a camp and receive little external assistance. MSF provided food, relief items and medical care, and screened over 7,000 of children for malnutrition and vaccinated them against measles. Over twenty per cent of the children were found to suffer from malnutrition. MSF teams also started to improve the water supply. In the town of Gambaru, a few kilometers from Ngala, MSF teams vaccinated over 8,000 children under the age of five against measles and also screened them for malnutrition. Ten per cent were malnourished and received food aid and medical care. The town’s estimated 70,000 residents lack basic food supplies and have no access to healthcare. The only health centre was burnt down, and the road is too dangerous for people to leave to seek care elsewhere. October 2016, copyright : Sylvain Cherkaoui/COSMOS

Ngala, Nigeria: Emergency aid to victims of violence and displacement, On 13 November, MSF teams from Cameroon managed to access Ngala in Nigeria for the second time.
Some 78,000 internally displaced people live there in a camp and receive little external assistance. MSF provided food, relief items and medical care, and screened over 7,000 of children for malnutrition and vaccinated them against measles.
Over twenty per cent of the children were found to suffer from malnutrition. MSF teams also started to improve the water supply.
In the town of Gambaru, a few kilometers from Ngala, MSF teams vaccinated over 8,000 children under the age of five against measles and also screened them for malnutrition. Ten per cent were malnourished and received food aid and medical care. The town’s estimated 70,000 residents lack basic food supplies and have no access to healthcare.
The only health centre was burnt down, and the road is too dangerous for people to leave to seek care elsewhere.
October 2016, copyright : Sylvain Cherkaoui/COSMOS

Nigeria Ngala, MSF teams provided food and medical care and are scaling up assistance. September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

Nigeria Ngala, MSF teams provided food and medical care and are scaling up assistance.
September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

Nigeria Ngala ,People in the camp reported having less than half a litre of water per person per day. September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

Nigeria Ngala ,People in the camp reported having less than half a litre of water per person per day.
September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

Nigeria Ngala ,People in the camp reported having less than half a litre of water per person per day. September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

Nigeria Ngala ,People in the camp reported having less than half a litre of water per person per day.
September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

Ngala: Teams have been able to offer medical consultations to the population in Gambaru inside a tent that was put up in health center that has been burnt down. September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

Ngala: Teams have been able to offer medical consultations to the population in Gambaru inside a tent that was put up in health center that has been burnt down.
September 2016, copyright : Silas Adamou Moussa/MSF

The desperate living conditions in Borno state show the devastating impact of the ongoing conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military. In several locations, people have sought refuge in towns or camps controlled by the military, and are entirely reliant on outside aid that does not reach them. “Although a nutrition emergency was declared three months ago, there has been a serious failure to help the people of Borno,” said Hugues Robert, head of MSF’s emergency response. “And we are again calling for a massive relief effort to be deployed now.” October 2016, copyright: Stéphane Reynier de Montlaux/MSF

The desperate living conditions in Borno state show the devastating impact of the ongoing conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military. In several locations, people have sought refuge in towns or camps controlled by the military, and are entirely reliant on outside aid that does not reach them. “Although a nutrition emergency was declared three months ago, there has been a serious failure to help the people of Borno,” said Hugues Robert, head of MSF’s emergency response. “And we are again calling for a massive relief effort to be deployed now.”
October 2016, copyright: Stéphane Reynier de Montlaux/MSF

Conflict-affected populations in Banki October 2016, copyright: Stéphane Reynier de Montlaux/MSF

Conflict-affected populations in Banki
October 2016, copyright: Stéphane Reynier de Montlaux/MSF

During the second week of July 2016, MSF organised an exploratory mission and an emergency distribution for more than 15,000 displaced people leaving in dire conditions in the city of Banki, in Borno State – Nigeria. July 2016, copyright: Naoufel Dridi/MSF

During the second week of July 2016, MSF organised an exploratory mission and an emergency distribution for more than 15,000 displaced people leaving in dire conditions in the city of Banki, in Borno State – Nigeria.
July 2016, copyright: Naoufel Dridi/MSF

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Notes to editors
For more information about the IKEA Foundation’s emergency-grant agreement with MSF: https://www.ikeafoundation.org/stories/helping-save-children-msf-save-thousands-childrens-lives-catastrophic-disasters/

The IKEA Foundation and MSF have partnered since 2013 to bring lifesaving medical care to people suffering in conflicts and disasters. The IKEA Foundation has donated more than EIUR 20 million to MSF since 2013. In 2014, IKEA Foundation provided EUR 5 million to fight the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

About the IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. We aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income, while helping these communities fight and cope with climate change.

Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation.

About MSF
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.
Learn more at www.msf.org/en/about-msf

For further information, please contact:
Radu Dumitrascu: Tel +31 6 5569 8570, Radu.Dumitrascu@IKEAfoundation.org
Emma Amadò : Tel +41 79 240 08 71, emma.amado@geneva.msf.org

This article has been provided by IKEA Foundation as part of an agreement with IPS

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Stories of Hope from a Cameroon Refugee Camphttp://www.ipsnews.net/2016/09/stories-of-hope-from-a-cameroon-refugee-camp/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stories-of-hope-from-a-cameroon-refugee-camp http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/09/stories-of-hope-from-a-cameroon-refugee-camp/#respond Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:50:22 +0000 UN Women http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=147030 To the world they are known as “refugees”. Nameless, faceless, all the same. But each of them have a different story to tell, of their lives, who they lost, and how they got here. Fleeing from the devastating conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), today they are rebuilding their lives, one day at a […]

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By UN Women
Sep 21 2016 (UN Women)

To the world they are known as “refugees”. Nameless, faceless, all the same. But each of them have a different story to tell, of their lives, who they lost, and how they got here. Fleeing from the devastating conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), today they are rebuilding their lives, one day at a time, in a camp in Cameroon. UN Women supports economic and social rehabilitation to some 6,250 vulnerable women and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence there. These are some of their stories.

Hawa, 23, was eight months pregnant when her husband was killed in the fighting in CAR. Her father and brother were also killed and her mother disappeared, leaving her completely alone. She fled and crossed into Cameroon, becoming a refugee at the Gado camp, where she gave birth to a son, Haphisi Ibrahim.

Hawa, 23, was eight months pregnant when her husband was killed in the fighting in CAR. Her father and brother were also killed and her mother disappeared, leaving her completely alone. She fled and crossed into Cameroon, becoming a refugee at the Gado camp, where she gave birth to a son, Haphisi Ibrahim.

 

Hawa carries her son as a neighbour pushes a cart with bags of cassava flour, dried fish and nuts for Hawa to sell at the camp’s marketplace. “When I arrived I didn’t have anyone,” she said. She received counselling from UN Women staff.  “They sensitized and trained me on how to do a business plan at the camp.”

Hawa carries her son as a neighbour pushes a cart with bags of cassava flour, dried fish and nuts for Hawa to sell at the camp’s marketplace. “When I arrived I didn’t have anyone,” she said. She received counselling from UN Women staff.  “They sensitized and trained me on how to do a business plan at the camp.”

Hawa carries her son as a neighbour pushes a cart with bags of cassava flour, dried fish and nuts for Hawa to sell at the camp’s marketplace. “When I arrived I didn’t have anyone,” she said. She received counselling from UN Women staff. “They sensitized and trained me on how to do a business plan at the camp.”

 

Ardo Djibo Fadimatou (centre, in blue and yellow), 64, lost eight of her 15 children during the conflict in CAR. She does not know the where her husband is. She speaks for the over 12,000 women in the Gado refugee camp as their elected President and leads meetings in UN Women’s Social Cohesion Space. “The major problem I face as a female leader is to convince parents to send their children to regular schools. Most parents prefer their children to stay at home and learn the Koran. Women need to be educated, to have income-generating activities and be able to contribute to social cohesion here at the camp.”

Ardo Djibo Fadimatou (centre, in blue and yellow), 64, lost eight of her 15 children during the conflict in CAR. She does not know the where her husband is. She speaks for the over 12,000 women in the Gado refugee camp as their elected President and leads meetings in UN Women’s Social Cohesion Space. “The major problem I face as a female leader is to convince parents to send their children to regular schools. Most parents prefer their children to stay at home and learn the Koran. Women need to be educated, to have income-generating activities and be able to contribute to social cohesion here at the camp.”

 

Yaya Dia Adama escaped CAR and came to the Gado refugee camp with her five children. She is a seamstress by trade and is able to make a living using the sewing machines at the UN Women multipurpose centre. She is currently training three other women to use them to make clothes, and together the women produce dresses to sell in the market. “Each day I am able to earn 1000 to 2000 [CFA] francs a day [USD 1.75-3.50]. This has helped me to provide for my children.”

Yaya Dia Adama escaped CAR and came to the Gado refugee camp with her five children. She is a seamstress by trade and is able to make a living using the sewing machines at the UN Women multipurpose centre. She is currently training three other women to use them to make clothes, and together the women produce dresses to sell in the market. “Each day I am able to earn 1000 to 2000 [CFA] francs a day [USD 1.75-3.50]. This has helped me to provide for my children.”

Ouseina Hamadou, 22, lives in the Ngam refugees host community and works as a food vendor. “UN Women trained me on a business plan, provided me with financial assistance, which I reinvested in my restaurant at the roadside. I started saving 5,000 francs [USD 8.50] a day and when I had 200,000 francs (USD 350), I decided to start building my own house.”

Ouseina Hamadou, 22, lives in the Ngam refugees host community and works as a food vendor. “UN Women trained me on a business plan, provided me with financial assistance, which I reinvested in my restaurant at the roadside. I started saving 5,000 francs [USD 8.50] a day and when I had 200,000 francs (USD 350), I decided to start building my own house.”

Nene Daouda is a 38-year-old widow who lost her husband in CAR during the war. She escaped to the Ngam refugee site in the Adamawa region of Cameroon with her five children, one of whom recently passed away from illness.

Nene Daouda is a 38-year-old widow who lost her husband in CAR during the war. She escaped to the Ngam refugee site in the Adamawa region of Cameroon with her five children, one of whom recently passed away from illness.

 

Nene (centre) and one of her daughters, Salamatou Abubakar (left), 12, have been providing food to many refugees at a makeshift restaurant in a small market at the camp. “I witnessed a complete transformation in my business and income following the training I attended, organized by UN Women. At the end of the training, they gave us 50,000 [CFA] francs as capital (USD 85). I reinvested this money in my business and started weekly savings.” Today, she is able to provide education and other basic needs to her children. In the image on the right, Nene passes out bites of dough to tide visitors over while she finishes cooking.

Nene (centre) and one of her daughters, Salamatou Abubakar (left), 12, have been providing food to many refugees at a makeshift restaurant in a small market at the camp. “I witnessed a complete transformation in my business and income following the training I attended, organized by UN Women. At the end of the training, they gave us 50,000 [CFA] francs as capital (USD 85). I reinvested this money in my business and started weekly savings.” Today, she is able to provide education and other basic needs to her children. In the image on the right, Nene passes out bites of dough to tide visitors over while she finishes cooking.

Nene (centre) and one of her daughters, Salamatou Abubakar (left), 12, have been providing food to many refugees at a makeshift restaurant in a small market at the camp. “I witnessed a complete transformation in my business and income following the training I attended, organized by UN Women. At the end of the training, they gave us 50,000 [CFA] francs as capital (USD 85). I reinvested this money in my business and started weekly savings.” Today, she is able to provide education and other basic needs to her children. In the image on the right, Nene passes out bites of dough to tide visitors over while she finishes cooking.

Salamatou steps outside to cut herself slices of mango as a snack. She sees a group of boys nearby playing football and immediately runs to join them, forgetting, at first, to put down her mango-slicing knife.

Salamatou steps outside to cut herself slices of mango as a snack. She sees a group of boys nearby playing football and immediately runs to join them, forgetting, at first, to put down her mango-slicing knife.

 

Displacement is devastating. Every day brings news challenges. But for these women, and many others in Cameroon, life at the refugee camp has also empowered them in ways they never imagined.

Credit for all photos: UN Women/Ryan Brown

This story, part of the “Where I am” editorial series, was replicated from the UN Women website http://www.unwomen.org/ IPS is an official partner of UN Women’s Step It Up! Media Compact.

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Asia, Looking Beyond the Green Revolutionhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2016/08/asia-looking-beyond-the-green-revolution/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=asia-looking-beyond-the-green-revolution http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/08/asia-looking-beyond-the-green-revolution/#respond Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:23:58 +0000 IPS Correspondents http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=146661 More than 2.2 billion people in Asia rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, but the Asian Development Bank warns that stagnant and declining yields of major crops such as rice and wheat can be ultimately linked to declining investments in agriculture. Public investments in agriculture in India, for instance, have been roughly the same since […]

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About 296 million acres of Indian farmland are degraded, while some 200 million people are dependent on this land for their sustenance. In recent years, FAO support for rural livelihoods and sustainable management of water, soil and other natural resources have occupied centre stage in India, followed by crops and livestock, food security information systems and fisheries. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

About 296 million acres of Indian farmland are degraded, while some 200 million people are dependent on this land for their sustenance. In recent years, FAO support for rural livelihoods and sustainable management of water, soil and other natural resources have occupied centre stage in India, followed by crops and livestock, food security information systems and fisheries. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

By IPS Correspondents
Aug 24 2016 (IPS)

More than 2.2 billion people in Asia rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, but the Asian Development Bank warns that stagnant and declining yields of major crops such as rice and wheat can be ultimately linked to declining investments in agriculture. Public investments in agriculture in India, for instance, have been roughly the same since 2004.

In most Asian countries, agriculture is the biggest user of water and can reach up to 90 percent of total water consumption – a fact that must be addressed as this critical resource comes under increasing strain from climate change, development and population growth.

The vision of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) office in Bangkok is a food-secure Asia and the Pacific region, helping to halve the number of undernourished people in the region by raising agricultural productivity and alleviating poverty while protecting the region’s natural resources base.

About 296 million acres of Indian farmland are degraded, while some 200 million people are dependent on this land for their sustenance. In recent years, FAO support for rural livelihoods and sustainable management of water, soil and other natural resources have occupied centre stage in India, followed by crops and livestock, food security information systems and fisheries. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

About 296 million acres of Indian farmland are degraded, while some 200 million people are dependent on this land for their sustenance. In recent years, FAO support for rural livelihoods and sustainable management of water, soil and other natural resources have occupied centre stage in India, followed by crops and livestock, food security information systems and fisheries. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

Zainab Samo, along with her son and daughter, planting a lemon seedling on her farm in Oan village in Pakistan’s southern desert district of Tharparkar, to fight the desert’s advance and for a windbreak. In the drylands of India and Pakistan, farmers still maintain many of their traditions of nurturing biodiversity of wild and cultivated food crops and medicinal plants, despite introduction of monocropping by the Green Revolution. Credit: Saleem Shaikh/IPS

Zainab Samo, along with her son and daughter, planting a lemon seedling on her farm in Oan village in Pakistan’s southern desert district of Tharparkar, to fight the desert’s advance and for a windbreak. In the drylands of India and Pakistan, farmers still maintain many of their traditions of nurturing biodiversity of wild and cultivated food crops and medicinal plants, despite introduction of monocropping by the Green Revolution. Credit: Saleem Shaikh/IPS

Farmers in Indonesia’s West Java province follow instructions on the government’s “integrated planting calendar”. National food security based on self-sufficiency of rice production remains a major concern of the government. Credit: Kanis Dursin/IPS

Farmers in Indonesia’s West Java province follow instructions on the government’s “integrated planting calendar”. National food security based on self-sufficiency of rice production remains a major concern of the government. Credit: Kanis Dursin/IPS

Women farmers in Nepal, which has one of the world's highest malnutrition rates. According to FAO, the low consumption of fruit and fresh vegetables, which is highly dependent on local seasonal availability, contributes to nutritional disorders such as deficiencies in iron and vitamin A. Over the last 64 years, almost 300 projects have been implemented in Nepal by FAO, embracing a broad range of programmes related to crop, vegetables, forestry, livestock, fishery, food safety, nutrition, planning, policy, rural development and environmental conservation. Credit: Naresh Newar/IPS

Women farmers in Nepal, which has one of the world’s highest malnutrition rates. According to FAO, the low consumption of fruit and fresh vegetables, which is highly dependent on local seasonal availability, contributes to nutritional disorders such as deficiencies in iron and vitamin A. Over the last 64 years, almost 300 projects have been implemented in Nepal by FAO, embracing a broad range of programmes related to crop, vegetables, forestry, livestock, fishery, food safety, nutrition, planning, policy, rural development and environmental conservation. Credit: Naresh Newar/IPS

With floods, droughts and other calamities battering deltaic Bangladesh regularly, farmers need little prompting to switch to climate-resistant varieties of rice, wheat, pulses and other staples. An important opportunity in terms of technology advancement is offered by the genetic improvement of crops that can adapt to future climate conditions, also called "climate proofing" crops. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

With floods, droughts and other calamities battering deltaic Bangladesh regularly, farmers need little prompting to switch to climate-resistant varieties of rice, wheat, pulses and other staples. An important opportunity in terms of technology advancement is offered by the genetic improvement of crops that can adapt to future climate conditions, also called “climate proofing” crops. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

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Nurturing African Agriculturehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2016/08/nurturing-african-agriculture/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nurturing-african-agriculture http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/08/nurturing-african-agriculture/#respond Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:18:35 +0000 IPS Correspondents http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=146655 While agriculture could be the driving force to lift millions of Africans out of poverty and alleviate hunger, its full potential remains untapped. For example, only between five and seven percent of the continent’s cultivated land is irrigated, leaving farmers vulnerable to climate shocks like the devastating El Nino-driven drought in southern Africa. That’s why […]

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Gadam sorghum was introduced to semi-arid regions of eastern Kenya as a way for farmers to improve their food security and earn some income from marginal land. The hardy, high-yielding sorghum variety has not only thrived in harsh conditions, it has won a place in the hearts - and plates - of local farmers. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Gadam sorghum was introduced to semi-arid regions of eastern Kenya as a way for farmers to improve their food security and earn some income from marginal land. The hardy, high-yielding sorghum variety has not only thrived in harsh conditions, it has won a place in the hearts - and plates - of local farmers. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

By IPS Correspondents
Aug 24 2016 (IPS)

While agriculture could be the driving force to lift millions of Africans out of poverty and alleviate hunger, its full potential remains untapped. For example, only between five and seven percent of the continent’s cultivated land is irrigated, leaving farmers vulnerable to climate shocks like the devastating El Nino-driven drought in southern Africa. That’s why international agencies like the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are forging key partnerships to enhance agricultural production, sustainable natural resource management and increased market access.

From boosting the productivity of drylands to introducing innovative, time-saving technology, success stories abound in Africa. Here are some viewed through the lenses of IPS photojournalists in the field.

Philippi residents grow organic produce such as spinach, lettuce, spring onions and beetroot in netted food tunnels, for sale to upmarket restaurants in Cape Town as well as for their own table. The FAO Organic Agriculture Programme aims to enhance food security, rural development, sustainable livelihoods and environmental integrity by building capacities of member countries in organic production, processing, certification and marketing. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Philippi residents grow organic produce such as spinach, lettuce, spring onions and beetroot in netted food tunnels, for sale to upmarket restaurants in Cape Town as well as for their own table. The FAO Organic Agriculture Programme aims to enhance food security, rural development, sustainable livelihoods and environmental integrity by building capacities of member countries in organic production, processing, certification and marketing. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

In Sierra Leone, Emmanuel Kargbo, a 26-year-old farmer, pushes a motorised soil tiller recently given to his farming cooperative. Before he was trained to use it, it would take him more than twice as long to do it by hand. Getting technology into the hands of farmers is critical since global food production needs to increase by 70 percent by 2050 in order to feed an additional 2.3 billion people, and food production in developing countries needs to almost double. Credit: Damon Van der Linde/IPS

In Sierra Leone, Emmanuel Kargbo, a 26-year-old farmer, pushes a motorised soil tiller recently given to his farming cooperative. Before he was trained to use it, it would take him more than twice as long to do it by hand. Getting technology into the hands of farmers is critical since global food production needs to increase by 70 percent by 2050 in order to feed an additional 2.3 billion people, and food production in developing countries needs to almost double. Credit: Damon Van der Linde/IPS

Gadam sorghum was introduced to semi-arid regions of eastern Kenya as a way for farmers to improve their food security and earn some income from marginal land. The hardy, high-yielding sorghum variety has not only thrived in harsh conditions, it has won a place in the hearts - and plates - of local farmers. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Gadam sorghum was introduced to semi-arid regions of eastern Kenya as a way for farmers to improve their food security and earn some income from marginal land. The hardy, high-yielding sorghum variety has not only thrived in harsh conditions, it has won a place in the hearts – and plates – of local farmers. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Small-scale farmer Ruth Chikweya working on her land near Harare, Zimbabwe. To counter the risk of poor yields, lost income and hunger, the Government of Zimbabwe turned to FAO for assistance in helping farmers in the country's marginal areas focus more on producing small grains such as sorghum and millet - both traditionally important crops that can be grown with relatively less water resources and which are more nutritious than maize. Credit: Tonderai Kwidini/IPS

Small-scale farmer Ruth Chikweya working on her land near Harare, Zimbabwe. To counter the risk of poor yields, lost income and hunger, the Government of Zimbabwe turned to FAO for assistance in helping farmers in the country’s marginal areas focus more on producing small grains such as sorghum and millet – both traditionally important crops that can be grown with relatively less water resources and which are more nutritious than maize. Credit: Tonderai Kwidini/IPS

Isaac Ochieng Okwanyi has had his most successful harvest ever after using lime to improve the quality of his soil. Okwanyi, a 29-year-old father of two, began farming after he was evicted from Nairobi’s Mathare slum in 2008 following the country’s post-election violence. According to FAO, soil management is an integral part of land management. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Isaac Ochieng Okwanyi has had his most successful harvest ever after using lime to improve the quality of his soil. Okwanyi, a 29-year-old father of two, began farming after he was evicted from Nairobi’s Mathare slum in 2008 following the country’s post-election violence. According to FAO, soil management is an integral part of land management. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

 

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India’s Dwindling Tiger Population Face Water Shortageshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2016/06/indias-dwindling-tiger-population-face-water-shortages/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=indias-dwindling-tiger-population-face-water-shortages http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/06/indias-dwindling-tiger-population-face-water-shortages/#respond Thu, 09 Jun 2016 21:17:57 +0000 Aruna Dutt http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=145559 At the beginning of the 19th century there were 40, 000 tigers in the world. Today, around 4,000 tigers are left in the wild globally, 2,226 of which are in India. United Nations former chief photographer John Isaac’s short film “India’s Tigers: A Threatened Species” was released at the UN Wednesday to highlight the importance […]

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Credit: John Isaac

By Aruna Dutt
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 9 2016 (IPS)

At the beginning of the 19th century there were 40, 000 tigers in the world. Today, around 4,000 tigers are left in the wild globally, 2,226 of which are in India.

United Nations former chief photographer John Isaac’s short film “India’s Tigers: A Threatened Species” was released at the UN Wednesday to highlight the importance of the endangered species threatened by environmental degradation, water shortages and poaching.

Credit: John Isaac

Credit: John Isaac

Climate change has been a serious challenge to keeping tigers’ habitat alive, nearly 17000 villages in Rajasthan have been facing a water crisis.

Tigers provide enormous economic benefits for the local communities, attracting tourists to parks like Ranthambore National Park, one of the largest national parks situated in Rajasthan, India, where most of Isaac’s pictures were taken.

Tigers also control the deer and sambar population, playing a major role in balancing the ecosystem.

Growing populations in the areas where tigers have historically lived are leading to increasing clashes between humans and tigers.

Credit: John Isaac

Credit: John Isaac

“Local farmers are more in tune with saving the tigers, but it is the higher authorities that need to do something,” said John Isaac, who has born in India and has been documenting the tigers there for 25 years.

Along with overpopulation and climate change, illicit poaching is on the rise. Poachers will kill a tiger in India for $20, and by the time it gets to China it will be worth half a million dollars, said Isaac.

Credit: John Isaac

Credit: John Isaac

Their body parts are used in Asian medicines and tiger claws are used in jewellery. Tiger whiskers are considered a dreadful poison in Malaysia and a powerful aphrodisiac in Indonesia. According to UNODC, ancient trade routes are being used to smuggle tiger skins and bones to buyers based largely in northern India and are then smuggled out of the country through Nepal or directly to China.

In India, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 is a legislation that covers wildlife crime. However, UNODC highlights the need for strengthening its implementation and enforcement in order to curb this transnational crime.

The tiger population in India which used to be tracked by footprints, is now tracked by cameras installed in forests detect them by their face, allowing for a much more accurate count, said Isaac.

All Photographs Courtesy and Copyright: John Isaac.

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Seeking a New Farming Revolutionhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2016/05/seeking-a-new-farming-revolution-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seeking-a-new-farming-revolution-2 http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/05/seeking-a-new-farming-revolution-2/#respond Thu, 05 May 2016 17:05:06 +0000 Kitty Stapp http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=144994 As the World Farmers’ Organization meets for its annual conference in Zambia to promote policies that strengthen this critical sector, IPS looks at how farmers across the globe are tackling the interconnected challenges of climate change, market fluctuations, water and land management, and energy access.

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Processing baby vegetables at Sidemane Farm in Swaziland. An EU grant helped local farmers to buy equipment and get training in business management and marketing. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

Processing baby vegetables at Sidemane Farm in Swaziland. An EU grant helped local farmers to buy equipment and get training in business management and marketing. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

By Kitty Stapp
May 5 2016 (IPS)

As the World Farmers’ Organization meets for its annual conference in Zambia to promote policies that strengthen this critical sector, IPS looks at how farmers across the globe are tackling the interconnected challenges of climate change, market fluctuations, water and land management, and energy access.

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Response to Ethiopia’s Drought: A Story of Success or Anguish?http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/01/response-to-ethiopias-drought-a-story-of-success-or-anguish/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=response-to-ethiopias-drought-a-story-of-success-or-anguish http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/01/response-to-ethiopias-drought-a-story-of-success-or-anguish/#respond Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:27:26 +0000 James Jeffrey http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=143731 Inside a health clinic run by the Catholic Daughters of Saint Anne, a nurse wraps a special tape measure around the upper arm of 2-year-old Rodas cradled in her mother’s arms. The tape reads yellow, meaning “moderately” malnourished, according to the attending nurse. Close by 17-year-old Milite describes not having enough food at her grandmother’s […]

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Tourism and Natural Treasures to Pull Ethiopia Out of Poverty and Faminehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2016/01/tourism-and-natural-treasures-to-pull-ethiopia-out-of-poverty-and-famine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tourism-and-natural-treasures-to-pull-ethiopia-out-of-poverty-and-famine http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/01/tourism-and-natural-treasures-to-pull-ethiopia-out-of-poverty-and-famine/#respond Tue, 05 Jan 2016 07:40:17 +0000 James Jeffrey http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=143514 Ethiopia has announced ambitious plans to triple tourist numbers within five years as a means of boosting economic growth and helping eradicate poverty—but can it do so in a sustainable manner without degrading the very treasures it wants to promote?

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Climate Smart Coffee and Banana Set to Boost East African Farmers’ Incomehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2015/12/climate-smart-coffee-and-banana-set-to-boost-east-african-farmers-income/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=climate-smart-coffee-and-banana-set-to-boost-east-african-farmers-income http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/12/climate-smart-coffee-and-banana-set-to-boost-east-african-farmers-income/#respond Wed, 23 Dec 2015 06:23:29 +0000 Wambi Michael http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=143425 Ugandan farmers are increasingly inter-planting coffee, the country’s primary export, and banana, a staple food, as a way of coping with the effects of climate change. In densely populated Elgon and Rwenzori Mountains, the two crops have been planted together on smallholder farms despite recommendations under the colonial agricultural extension system to separate these in […]

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Ethiopia: The Biggest African Refugee Camp No One Talks Abouthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2015/11/ethiopia-the-biggest-african-refugee-camp-no-one-talks-about/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ethiopia-the-biggest-african-refugee-camp-no-one-talks-about http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/11/ethiopia-the-biggest-african-refugee-camp-no-one-talks-about/#comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 21:51:31 +0000 James Jeffrey http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=143146 On a sunny November day in Addis Ababa the courtyard of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) centre is packed with people—some attend a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reception clinic, others get essential supplies, while students attend classes, and many simply play volleyball, table football or dominoes to pass the time. Benyamin told IPS […]

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Where Technology and Medicine Meet in Rural Zambiahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2015/11/where-technology-and-medicine-meet-in-rural-zambia/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=where-technology-and-medicine-meet-in-rural-zambia http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/11/where-technology-and-medicine-meet-in-rural-zambia/#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2015 06:29:22 +0000 James Jeffrey http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=143066 When health officer Kennedy Mulenga was faced with a male patient developing breasts at the remote Ngwerere Clinic 30km north of the Zambian capital, Lusaka, he logged onto Virtual Doctors to get help solving the medical mystery. After taking notes and creating a patient file he took a photo with the camera in his computer […]

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Preserving Mangroves Provides Protection and Food Securityhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2015/11/preserving-mangroves-provides-protection-and-food-security/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=preserving-mangroves-provides-protection-and-food-security http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/11/preserving-mangroves-provides-protection-and-food-security/#respond Fri, 13 Nov 2015 18:40:54 +0000 Malini Shankar http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=142994 At the dawn of Indian Independence, Government of India’s commitment to food security – in addition to the impact of the Bengal Famine – was haunted by corruption, hoarding and mismanagement, resulting in ongoing food insecurity among the indigenous people in Tamilnadu and Orissa that lasted for more than five decades, When the Asian Tsunami […]

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By Malini Shankar
CHIDAMBARAM TALUQ, CUDDALORE DISTRICT, India, Nov 13 2015 (IPS)

At the dawn of Indian Independence, Government of India’s commitment to food security – in addition to the impact of the Bengal Famine – was haunted by corruption, hoarding and mismanagement, resulting in ongoing food insecurity among the indigenous people in Tamilnadu and Orissa that lasted for more than five decades,

When the Asian Tsunami struck the coast of Tamilnadu in December 2004, the Irulas, who were teetering on the verge of starvation with their hunter gatherer lifestyle, were stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea on the coastal forests of the Pichavaram mangrove forests in Chidambaram Taluq (11°25’45.55″N 79°47’0.23″E) of Cuddalore district. The mangroves themselves, with their aerial roots, had reduced the power of the killer waves, saving the lives of thousands of Irulas. Despite that, their exposure to starvation widened because the tsunami deluged their rice paddies with salt water and the Irulas’ hunting and gathering skills were unable to produce more than one or two days’ of food each week.

“The aerial roots of the mangroves regulate tides and nurture the silt in the coastal ecosystem thereby sustaining diverse varieties of fish and crops” says Dr. Gyanamurthy, a marine biologist at the Pichavaram field station of the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Pichavaram, Cuddalore district. They fix nitrogen in the soil thus supporting cultivation of saline resistant crops like cereals, pulses, lentils and even spawn unparalleled fish diversity in the creeks offering the cleanest mechanism of sustainable eco-friendly food security to the marginalised outcastes. But such scientific documentation nevertheless needed administrative support and legal regimen to administer food security for the impoverished and marginalised indigenous people.

 

The enactment of the Forest Rights Act the Biodiversity Act Forest Rights Act, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Food Security Act and the National Disaster Management Act together have trickled down to provide food and livelihood security for the weakest sections of society. In an exclusive interview with IPS, Professor M.S. Swaminathan, a former parliamentarian who is a leader in India’s Green Revolution and founder of the MSSRF, said: “The Forest Rights Act provides an opportunity for combining conservation with livelihood security; the National Food Security Act 2013 which makes the usual access to food a fundamental right for nearly 70 – 80 per cent of our population; and the Biodiversity Act provides a method by which those who conserve biodiversity are given some kind of recognition. We have in the national plan priority protection, the Farmers’ Rights Act. For the first time in the world there is an Act which combines farmers and builders’ rights in the one Act. The National Food Security Act, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and various other Acts which have come (into force) in recent times, they all are reinforcing each other”.

India, as one of the stake holders in the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s CFS (Committee on Food Security), was obliged to promote policy coherence in line with the Voluntary Guidelines for the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security, and in that context, reaffirms the importance of nutrition as an essential element of food security. It followed the introduction of the Food Security Bill in the Indian Parliament in 2013 and enactment in September that year.

India is the only country to have taken up a slew of legislative measures to combat hunger. “The Food Security Act in India is perhaps the singular and greatest legislative contribution of India to humanity in terms of food security,” said Prof. M.S. Swaminathan. “The Biodiversity Act propagates plant and animal genetics thereby assuring the farmers’ livelihood security. The Forest Rights Act protects the right to life and livelihoods of forest dwelling tribes assuring the marginalised forest dwellers nutrition and food security along with biodiversity conservation. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act assures the rural populace of a minimum standard of wages and minimum period of employment.”,

“Further, the Disaster Management Act lends state support and allows officers to take expedient legal measures to combat hunger during exigencies, to reduce disaster risk in the aftermath of future calamities,” he said.

Two elements are fundamental in order to make substantial and rapid progress towards global food security: coherence and convergence among policies and programmes of countries, donors and other stakeholders when addressing the underlying causes of hunger, and the recognition of the human rights dimensions of food security.

The Right to Food Team supports government, parliamentarians, civil society organizations and other stakeholders with the implementation of the Right to Food Guidelines in their work. The Right to Food Team provides technical and capacity-building assistance in the areas of assessment, institutional analysis, policy dialogue and monitoring; all of which are relevant for the right to adequate food.

But the Asian Tsunami was quite literally a watershed in many areas of governance. The Collector of Cuddalore district, G.S. Bedi, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service of the Tamilnadu cadre, included these half starving and traumatised survivors of the Asian Tsunami in the Scheduled Tribe List. Once included the Irulas were mentored about the exercise of their rights by NGOs like the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and BEDROC among others. MSSRF also took up livelihoods training programmes to offer alternate livelihood options to the Irulas. MSSRF imparted training in crab trapping, net fishing, sustainable eco-friendly aquaculture, net making, boat building and allied activities making the tribe self- reliant in livelihood security and offering and food security.

Text and pictures by Malini Shankar

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Time is up on the Millennium Development Goalshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2015/08/time-is-up-on-the-millennium-development-goals/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=time-is-up-on-the-millennium-development-goals http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/08/time-is-up-on-the-millennium-development-goals/#respond Thu, 13 Aug 2015 09:27:47 +0000 Roger Hamilton-Martin http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=141959 After 15 years of trying to meet the targets set out to address extreme poverty, the 193 member states of the United Nations have almost reached consensus on a more broad-reaching group of goals. The only thing left to do is to sign off on the Sustainable Development Goals this fall in New York, when the […]

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SDGs - Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. A man walks through agricultural land in the village of Mirusuvil, in the northern Jaffna District. Over 122,000 persons have been severely impacted by the drought according to the latest government data. Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS

SDGs - Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. A man walks through agricultural land in the village of Mirusuvil, in the northern Jaffna District. Over 122,000 persons have been severely impacted by the drought according to the latest government data. Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS

By Roger Hamilton-Martin
LONDON, Aug 13 2015 (IPS)

After 15 years of trying to meet the targets set out to address extreme poverty, the 193 member states of the United Nations have almost reached consensus on a more broad-reaching group of goals.

The only thing left to do is to sign off on the Sustainable Development Goals this fall in New York, when the countries get together for the annual General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters. Seven months of negotiations have produced a document: Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Despite uneven progress on the eight MDGs, the new SDGs comprise 17 goals, with 169 targets. World leaders will set out in New York their visions for achieving these targets, which are hoped to provide a framework to combat poverty, climate change, inequality and hunger.

 

 

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Mangroves Could Protect Coastlines from Storms, Sea Level Risehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2015/07/mangroves-could-protect-coastlines-from-storms-sea-level-rise/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mangroves-could-protect-coastlines-from-storms-sea-level-rise http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/07/mangroves-could-protect-coastlines-from-storms-sea-level-rise/#respond Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:24:48 +0000 Roger Hamilton-Martin http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=141802 The importance of mangroves in protecting coastal areas under threat due to sea level rise caused by climate change may have been underestimated, according to new research. A joint study between researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and the Universities of Auckland and Waikato in New Zealand looked at how mangrove […]

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Cultivating mangroves could be critical in protecting coastlines from the impacts of climate change. These, in Cuba, have struggled due river damming. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

By Roger Hamilton-Martin
LONDON, Jul 31 2015 (IPS)

The importance of mangroves in protecting coastal areas under threat due to sea level rise caused by climate change may have been underestimated, according to new research.

A joint study between researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and the Universities of Auckland and Waikato in New Zealand looked at how mangrove forests respond to elevated sea levels.

 

Dr. Barend van Maanen of the University of Southampton said in a statement: “As a mangrove forest begins to develop, the creation of a network of channels is relatively fast. Tidal currents, sediment transport and mangroves significantly modify the estuarine environment, creating a dense channel network.

“Within the mangrove forest, these channels become shallower through organic matter from the trees, reduced sediment resuspensions (caused by the mangroves) and sediment trapping (also caused by the mangroves) and the sea bed begins to rise, with bed elevation increasing a few millimetres per year until the area is no longer inundated by the tide.”

The team predicted what happens to different types of estuaries and river deltas when sea levels rise.

Taking New Zealand mangrove data as the basis of a new modelling system and using cutting-edge mathematical simulations, they found areas without mangroves are likely to widen from erosion and more water will encroach inwards, whereas mangrove regions prevent this effect. This is likely due to soil building up around their mesh-like roots and acting to reduce energy from waves and tidal currents.

In modelling sea level rise in the study, the ability of mangrove forests to gradually create a buffer between sea and land occurs even when the area is subjected to potential sea level rise of up to 0.5 mm per year. Even after sea level rise, the mangroves showed an enhanced ability to maintain an elevation in the upper intertidal zone.

Associate Professor Karin Bryan of the University of Waikato said, “In New Zealand, mangroves have been traditionally viewed as undesirable as they take over areas where there were once sandy beaches. In other countries, this is not the case as they are seen as a buffer for climate change in low level areas.”

Other studies have shown mangroves have the ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere and protect people from hazards such as tsunamis.

Associate Professor Giovanni Coco of the University of Auckland said, “As we anticipate changes caused by climate change, it’s important to know the effect sea level rise might have, particularly around our coasts.

“Mangroves appear to be resilient to sea level rise and are likely to be able to sustain such climatic change. The implications for the New Zealand coastline are considerable and will require new thinking in terms of sediment budgets and response to climatic changes.”

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Views from the Caribbean ahead of COP21, the December 2015 Climate Change Summit in Paris – Building Resilience to Disaster: Biodiversityhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2015/07/views-from-the-caribbean-ahead-of-cop21-the-december-2015-climate-change-summit-in-paris-building-resilience-to-disaster-biodiversity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=views-from-the-caribbean-ahead-of-cop21-the-december-2015-climate-change-summit-in-paris-building-resilience-to-disaster-biodiversity http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/07/views-from-the-caribbean-ahead-of-cop21-the-december-2015-climate-change-summit-in-paris-building-resilience-to-disaster-biodiversity/#respond Wed, 08 Jul 2015 08:51:39 +0000 Kitty Stapp http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=141479 Thanks to its varied geography and climate, the Caribbean region is one of the world’s greatest centers of unique biodiversity. With most people living near the coast, marine ecosystems, including mangroves, beaches, lagoons and cays, are essential not only for biodiversity, but as protection from storms. Many are now threatened, along with the coral reefs […]

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CODRINGTON, Barbuda. The fisheries sector in the CARICOM Region is an important source of income. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

CODRINGTON, Barbuda. The fisheries sector in the CARICOM Region is an important source of income. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

By Kitty Stapp
NEW YORK, Jul 8 2015 (IPS)

Thanks to its varied geography and climate, the Caribbean region is one of the world’s greatest centers of unique biodiversity. With most people living near the coast, marine ecosystems, including mangroves, beaches, lagoons and cays, are essential not only for biodiversity, but as protection from storms. Many are now threatened, along with the coral reefs the region is famous for.

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Ghosts Of War Give Way to Development in Sri Lankahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2015/06/ghosts-of-war-give-way-to-development-in-sri-lanka-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ghosts-of-war-give-way-to-development-in-sri-lanka-2 http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/06/ghosts-of-war-give-way-to-development-in-sri-lanka-2/#respond Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:47:51 +0000 Amantha Perera http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=141438 It is an oasis from the scorching heat outside. The three-storey, centrally air-conditioned Cargills Square, a major mall in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna town, is the latest hangout spot in the former warzone, where everyone from teenagers to families to off-duty military officers converge. Once a garrison town with army checkpoints at every street corner, […]

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A man fishes in the Elephant Pass lagoon, the narrow waterway that connects the Jaffna Peninsula with the rest of Sri Lanka and the site of many bloody battles during the civil conflict. Much of the population here still relies on farming and fisheries for survival. Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS

A man fishes in the Elephant Pass lagoon, the narrow waterway that connects the Jaffna Peninsula with the rest of Sri Lanka and the site of many bloody battles during the civil conflict. Much of the population here still relies on farming and fisheries for survival. Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS

By Amantha Perera
JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, Jun 25 2015 (IPS)

It is an oasis from the scorching heat outside. The three-storey, centrally air-conditioned Cargills Square, a major mall in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna town, is the latest hangout spot in the former warzone, where everyone from teenagers to families to off-duty military officers converge.

Once a garrison town with army checkpoints at every street corner, nervous soldiers armed to the teeth would patrol the streets around the clock tower. Claymore mine explosions were not unusual occurrences, and streets were deserted by dusk.

That was during Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, which dragged on for nearly 30 years until the army declared victory over the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009.

The country’s northern and eastern provinces, marked out by the LTTE as the site of an independent state for the country’s minority Tamil population, bore the brunt of the conflict. Whole towns and villages here suffered terrible losses, both in human life and in damages to lands, homes and infrastructure.

Both during the war years and immediately following, anyone traveling to this region could not but notice stark disparities between the war zone and the country’s southern provinces.

As you venture deeper into the north or further into the east, cars give way to bicycles and large buildings taper down into more modest dwellings.

Even six years after the fighting stopped, signs of devastation are everywhere: bus stops riddled with bullet holes and the remains of armored vehicles littering roadsides are not uncommon.

Internally displaced people and civilians and former combatants maimed during the conflict make up bulk of the population here, and post-war reconstruction is an unfinished task.

But in Jaffna, the cultural and political nerve centre for a majority of the island’s Tamil people, is slowly shedding its wartime scars.

The Cargills Square, a 3.7-million-dollar investment by Cargills (Ceylon) PLC – which operates the largest supermarket chain in Sri Lanka – opened in late 2013 and today, business is booming.

Its location, on a main road once infamous for skirmishes, assassinations and grenade attacks, now represents prime commercial real estate: the establishment is surrounded on all sides by clothing stores boasting the best of both eastern and western dress.

The smiling eyes and girlish laughter of young women trying on new dresses in street-side shops have replaced the sharp stares of soldiers, once visible through small windows in concrete bunkers surrounded by sandbags.

“Finally the city is thriving on its own potential, there is lot of talent and confidence here,” says Cargills Square Manager Samuel Nesakumar, referring to the district’s 600,000 residents.

Indeed the city, capital of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, has not looked this vibrant in decades. While poverty rates in other parts of the former war zone are thrice and sometimes close to five times greater than the national average of average 6.7 percent, Jaffna is slowly closing this gap, and is even outperforming some districts in the south.

While many developmental challenges remain, external investments, including in infrastructure and from the banking and telecom sectors, combined with increased trade and internal tourism, means that this former war-torn territory is gradually pulling itself out of decades of despondency and getting back on its feet.

It is a success story in the making, but wide wealth gaps in various other districts in the north and east, as well as gaping developmental holes throughout areas once controlled by the LTTE, point to the need for even growth and equal distribution of resources throughout this country of 20 million people.

Edited by Kanya D’Almeida

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