“I have never planted a tree in my life,” laughs Jairos Saunyama, a tobacco farmer, revelling at the absurdity of the question of whether he is involved in the country's afforestation efforts. Sawunyama is one of thousands of farmers who are blamed by local conservationists for turning the country's forests into deserts and dust bowls.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still widely practised in the African country of Djibouti. Despite efforts by the government and development agencies to curb this practice, culture, tradition and religion continue to slow down progress.
Brazil is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of coffee, sugar, beef, soya, cotton, and ethanol but due to its environmental and water footprint it ranks low on sustainability. Brazilian agriculture’s contribution to the loss of rainforest is a case in point – the Amazon lost as much as 3,465 square miles of forest due to fires last year – triggering widespread international outrage over the lax environment policies that allowed all of this to happen. Its large commercial cattle herd is also a source of greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil’s challenge is to make its model of agricultural development more environment-friendly.
Development efforts over the past two decades have seen millions of people freed from poverty and hunger, and inequalities reduced worldwide. This is an undoubted achievement, but is no reason for complacency. The fact is that inequality between men and women, between boys and girls, remains not only a social justice concern, but one of the impediments on development in countries across Africa and beyond. Addressing such inequalities is a duty for all of us, and one which is at the heart of the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day on 8th March: Each for Equal
For 13-year-old Karen Semens, growing up on Pohnpei -- one of the four main island states in the Federated States of Micronesia, which comprises of more than 600 islands in the western Pacific Ocean -- the main challenge is being a girl.
“In our culture, girls don’t have the same rights and opportunities nor do they get credit and recognition for their achievements as boys do. This prevents us from speaking our minds. For example in family meetings, only men make the decisions. I would like all girls to be treated as equals and have a say in decision making,” the 8th grade pupil from the Ohmine Public Elementary school in Pohnpei, tells IPS.
Souylemane Samb sits under a crowded tent on a hot Senegalese day. He wears a canvas vest with Trees for the Future printed across the back.
Aside from the seven hours Mantfombi Msibi (63) would spend daily during the Eswatini farming season planting, applying herbicides and weeding her 1.2-hectare maize field, she would also spend E1 750 ($125) on tractor services. It was a huge cost of both time and money. But this season, Msibi will be benefiting from climate-smart farming technology that has opened up a new world of farming to her, saving her time in the process.
The Mutwales farm a small plot of land in the camp, growing primarily cassava and maize for food. They are also one of the 105 refugee farming families participating in an initiative during the 2019/2020 growing season to help them cultivate nutritious, vitamin A-biofortified orange maize, which was developed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT
) in partnership with HarvestPlus.
Hillol Datta, 26, travelled for two days from Kolkata to Jampui Hills – a picturesque hill station in the north eastern province of India – to see its fruit-laden orange orchards. However, after driving for several hours, all the young traveller saw were bald patches along the hill slopes and scattered rows of areca (nut) palm trees.
This year marks just ten years ahead of the deadline for completing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
These universally supported targets were always ambitious in their scope – yet what is clearer now than ever before is that quicker progress is crucial in the decade to come.
The UN’s highly-touted socio-economic agenda, which lays out an ambitious global plan for “people, planet and prosperity”, has been dominated by “goals, targets and deadlines.”
When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the 193-member General Assembly last December, he focused on the smoldering climate crisis-- pointing out that the last five years have been the hottest ever recorded.
Africa needs to invest in agriculture by putting more resources into innovative research and development that can boost food and nutritional security, according to leading scientist, Nteranya Sanginga.
Warming himself with a kangri
(a firepot) kept under his pheran
(a long winter cloak worn by Kashmiris), 66-year-old Mohammad Subhan Dar sat chatting with a bunch of his fellow villagers on a January afternoon on the edge of the road overlooking Wular Lake in Saderkote-Bandipora, northern India.
By 2030, sub-Saharan Africa will be home to more than a quarter of the world’s population under 25. Between 15 and 20 million young people will enter the African workforce each year
, joining the ranks of the millions of currently under- and unemployed people searching for better livelihoods.
A recent opinion piece in the New York Times titled, “Kenya’s New Digital IDs May Exclude Millions of Minorities
” raises an issue that the UN is passionate about: that the pursuit of sustainable development should leave no one behind.
Ramkumar Mondal’s farm is awash in a brilliant yellow mustard bloom. A flock of grey cranes peck for food amidst the shallow watergrass. But Mondal’s fishpond digs in there like a do-or-die last sentinel as nearby high-rise buildings, a symbol of development and encroachment, menacingly tower over the fishpond, permanently blocking the eastern sun so essential for the pondwater to convert sewage into fish-feed.
Since I was a kid, I grew up with adventures and stories of famous characters of the books of Jack London: White Fang, Make a Fire… and the incredible ode to perseverance of Martin Eden.
Vandana Shiva, a pioneer of organic farming in India, is incensed by the 2019 draft law to compulsorily register all seeds used by farmers. On a wintry afternoon, at her farm Navdanya in the Himalayan foothills, the noted ecologist spoke on the future of the organic farming movement in India. Excerpts:
One year ago, the UN began implementing reforms meant to make it more effective in delivering on sustainable development. Now, with the start of 2020, the global body has declared this as the "decade of action" to turn the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into a living reality for all humanity. But what does this look like, on the ground?