Regional Categories

Healthy Oceans Key to Fighting Hunger

Seafood offers a large amount of animal protein in diets around the world, and the livelihoods of 12 percent of the global population depend directly or indirectly on fisheries and aquaculture.

Opinion: Five Key Takeaways from India’s New Climate Plan

Last week, India announced its new climate plan, also known as its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, or INDC. As the world’s third-largest emitter and a country that’s highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, it is encouraging to witness India investing in actions to tackle climate change while addressing poverty, food security and access to healthcare and education.India’s INDC builds on its goal of installing 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2022 by setting a new target to increase its share of non-fossil based energy from 30 per cent today to about 40 per cent by 2030.The country also commits to reduce by 2030 its emissions intensity per unit GDP by 33 to 35 per cent below 2005 levels and to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 through additional tree cover. The plan also prioritizes efforts to build resilience to climate change impacts and gives a broad indication of the amount of financing necessary to reach its goals.Here are five major takeaways on India’s new INDC:1) It Sets a Clear Signal for Clean EnergyAchieving its target of about a 40 per cent share of non-fossil energy sources by 2030 would result in at least 200 GW of new renewable capacity. However, if India achieves its previously announced goal of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 – mostly from solar – much of this capacity will come sooner. The 2022 target is extremely ambitious (the world’s entire installed solar power capacity was 181 GW in 2014) and clearly positions India as a major renewable energy player. With approximately 900 GW of estimated renewable capacity and favorable economic conditions, these targets can be met as long as financing and policy barriers are overcome.While coal and other fossil fuels will continue to play a role in India’s energy mix in the decades to come, the targets announced yesterday will spur a transition toward cleaner sources. That’s good news for the environment, economy and the estimated 300 million Indians who today do not have adequate power supply.2) Its Emissions Intensity Target Could Go FurtherIndia’s emissions intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of GDP) declined by approximately 18 per cent between 1990 and 2005, and the country has already committed to reduce it by another 20-25 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020. The new INDC target commits India to go further – 33-35 per cent from 2005 by 2030.Surprisingly, it is not clear that the country’s intensity target reflects the scale of mitigation that would result from its planned investments in renewables. In fact, a number of studies suggest that India could reduce its emissions intensity by that much or more even in the absence of significant new measures. In the course of meeting its renewable energy and non-fossil targets, and by tapping the substantial potential of energy efficiency improvements, India should be able to easily exceed its intensity target.3) It Will Sequester Carbon by Increasing Forest CoverIndia’s INDC recognizes the importance of aggressively restoring forest cover in a manner consistent with supporting livelihoods. Creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 through additional forest and tree cover would require average annual carbon sequestration to increase by at least 14 per cent over the next 15 years relative to the 2008-2013 period. With the Green India Mission expected to deliver 50-60 per cent of the required total, India needs to provide further detail on how it plans to achieve the rest. The INDC notes the importance of financing to address implementation challenges.4) Adaptation Is a Key PriorityAs a country exceptionally vulnerable to climate change, there is heavy focus on adaptation and resilience in India’s INDC. It highlights current initiatives in sensitive sectors, including agriculture, water, health and more, and points toward plans under development in each state. While India currently spends 3 per cent of its GDP on adaptation, the INDC noted that enhanced investment in these activities will require additional support through domestic and international funds. The country estimates it will need 206 billion dollars for the period 2015-2030, with additional investments needed for disaster management.5) Policies Are Detailed while Targets Remain VagueWhile India’s INDC lays out its existing climate measures in detail, it falls short on a number of the elements of transparency mentioned in a decision made at the Lima climate talks last December.These include a lack of clarity on emissions intensity in the base year (2005) and target year (2030), as well as the scope and coverage of the intensity target and the methodologies for measuring it. This information is crucial for monitoring progress towards India’s target and for understanding how it contributes to the global goal of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.On the other hand, the INDC lays out a compelling justification of fairness and ambition in the context of existing efforts and the country’s broader sustainable development challenges. It also stresses the importance of lifestyle changes and sustainable consumption.Looking AheadIndia has put forward a well-balanced climate plan that - alongside its renewable energy goals - will generate transformational changes. These actions are also being proposed alongside an aggressive development agenda. Although implementation challenges remain, the INDC makes clear that India - along with its peers - is working toward a strong international climate agreement.(End)

Rise in Large Scale Refugees Triggers New International Population Order

As the unprecedented flow of hundreds and thousands of migrants and refugees continues from war-ravaged countries to Europe, a new study warns that large-scale migration from poorer to rich nations will be a permanent feature of the global economy for decades.

TPP is “Worst Trade Agreement” for Medicine Access, Says Doctors Without Borders

“The TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] will…go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries,” said Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in a statement following the signing of the TPP trade deal.

Analysis: Is the Miracle of Microfinance Illusory?

Mohammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, transformed the lives of millions of poor women through unsecured micro loans or micro credit to self-help groups. Microcredit evolved into microfinance that also includes savings and basic forms of insurance and transfer mechanisms. Within a few years, microfinance became a global phenomenon. Although microfinance continues to grow, the enthusiasm for it shows signs of waning.

Opinion: International Tax Cooperation Crucial for Development

It has become clear that the South, including the least developed countries, has little reason to expect any real progress to the almost half century old commitment to transfer 0.7 percent of developed countries’ income to developing countries. But to add insult to injury, developing countries have, once again, been denied full participation in inter-governmental discussions to enhance overall as well as national tax capacities.

Shale Drives Uncertain New Geoeconomics of Oil

The emergence of fracking has modified the global market for fossil fuels. But the plunge in oil prices has diluted the effect, in a struggle that experts in the United States believe conventional producers could win in the next decade.

Women’s Alliance Plans to Counter Violent Extremism

When the Security Council recently hosted a meeting of world leaders to discuss the growing threats from violent extremism, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that any success in battling intolerance will be predicated on a “unified response.”

United Arab Emirates and Cuba Forge Closer Ties

Cuba and the United Arab Emirates agreed to strengthen diplomatic ties and bilateral cooperation during an official visit to this Caribbean island nation by the UAE minister of foreign affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Opinion: American Exceptionalism on Child Rights

On 1 October 2015, Somalia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), leaving the United States of America as the only remaining member state of the UN not to embrace this most universally accepted human rights treaty. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reflects the sentiments of all the world’s human rights activists in encouraging the US to join the global community by ratifying this noble treaty.

The Global South Will Make Its Contribution to Fighting Climate Change

Seen for years as passive actors in the fight against global warming, more than 100 countries of the Global South have submitted their national contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonising their economies.

Q&A: ‘We Need to do Development Differently in the Post-2015 Era’

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted at a summit meeting of world leaders at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Sep. 25, reflect the five strategic domains the ACP Group is gearing to focus on, as it repositions itself as a more effective organisation in the global arena, says the 79-nation bloc’s head Dr Patrick Gomes.

10 Million at Risk of Hunger Due to Climate Change and El Niño, Oxfam Warns

At least ten million of the poorest people face food insecurity in 2015 and 2016 due to extreme weather conditions and the onset of El Niño, Oxfam has reported.

Brazil’s Expanded Climate Targets Frustrate Environmentalists

Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction programme, hailed as bold, has nevertheless left environmentalists frustrated at its lack of ambition in key aspects.

The Spectre of Jobless Growth in India

India faces a serious challenge of dealing with joblessness despite statistically being the world’s fastest growing economy. The spread, depth and intensity of the problem, especially among the educated youth, is not reflected the latest unemployment number of 4.9 per cent in 2013-14. This estimate captures the chronically unemployed – those who sought or were available for work for the major part of the year – but it rarely figures in public discourse as the rate is relatively low and stable over time. Another reason is that the economy continues to generate employment opportunities even if they are largely casual or temporary in the informal sector.

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