Environment

Kenya’s Huge Railway Project Is Causing Environmental Damage. Here’s How

Kenya is constructing a railway line that connects the coastal port of Mombasa and the interior of the country. It is expected to terminate at Malaba, a town on the border with Uganda, and link up with other railways that are being built in East Africa. It’s locally known as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Revamped UN System Crucial for a Changing World

From an international humanitarian perspective, the first half of 2021 has been disappointing. We’re no further ahead in ending the conflict in Syria and Yemen. From the fledgling democracy that it had become, Myanmar has descended into what most of its people had hoped was a bygone era of military rule. And in Ethiopia, where its Prime Minister, Ably Ahmed, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, armed conflict in Tigray is preventing the 2020 winners of the very same prize, the World Food Programme, from delivering the food needed to stop at least 350,000 Ethiopians from starving to death.

Water Scarcity: Coming Soon

In 1995, a highly-respected water expert in South Africa, Bill Pitman, in very concise terms illustrated that the country, already battling a growing lack of water then, would likely run out in 25 years if it did not increase its supply.

Golden Rice: Triumph for Science

After almost two decades, Golden Rice was approved last week by the Philippines authorities for use as food. This together with the approval of the bioengineered Bt eggplant represents a landmark victory of science over misinformation; it will provide consumers with improved nutrition (Golden Rice) and safer food (Bt eggplant).

Water Poverty: The Political Connection

The water we drink and the air we breathe are the basis of life. With universal access to clean water and sanitation, we will be healthier, our economies will be stronger, gender equality will be more achievable, and more children will stay in school.

Child Rights’ Experts Warn that Displaced Children and Young People Risk Being Wiped Out of the Education System

The difficulties in accessing education faced by children and young people forcibly displaced from their homes were today laid bare in a virtual high-level roundtable convened by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the UK and Canada.

Protecting Plants Will Protect People and the Planet

Back-to-back droughts followed by plagues of locusts have pushed over a million people in southern Madagascar to the brink of starvation in recent months. In the worst famine in half a century, villagers have sold their possessions and are eating the locusts, raw cactus fruits, and wild leaves to survive.

Beware UN Food Systems Summit Trojan Horse

Undoubtedly, the world needs to reform existing food systems to better serve humanity and sustainable development. But the United Nations World Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) must be consistent with UN-led multilateralism. For the first time ever, the World Economic Forum (WEF), a partnership of some of the world’s most powerful corporations, is partnering the UN in launching the Summit, now scheduled for September, with its ‘Pre-Summit’ beginning today.

Is it Time to Create a UN Political Body for Climate Change?

As a wisecracking cynic once remarked: “The sun would never set on the British empire because God wouldn’t trust an Englishman in the dark“. Perhaps it was an uncharitable remark because most of the British colonies have long gone.

Why Are Some Pacific Lagoon Corals Resistant to Climate Change?

Abundant with diverse coral and fish species, the South-West Pacific reefs play a critical role in the marine ecosystems and economies of Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). While there is no question that climate change is affecting coral, the level and type of impact is not uniform. To help us better understand why these differences exist, a team of marine scientists from New Caledonia set off on a scientific mission to sample coral species around the mainland of this Pacific Island nation.

Rwandan Farmers Pin Hopes on New Tech to Tackle Food Losses

Rwanda is trying to reduce post-harvest loss by relying on new technologies to increase the amount of food available for consumption and help smallholder farmers confront some challenges caused by the overproduction of staple crops.

Europe’s Catastrophic Flooding Was Forecast Well in Advance – What Went So Wrong?

Almost 200 people dead and many others still missing. Billions of euros’ worth of damage. Communities devastated. Thousands of homes destroyed and their occupants traumatised.

Confronting a Worsening Climate

Across the United States, the last few months have brought along many climate-linked disasters. From surging wildfires in Hawaii to record-breaking Pacific Northwest heat waves to drought across the western states. The southwestern states also have seen heavy rains that resulted in flash flooding events.

Why is the UK Government Turning off the Tap During a Global Pandemic?

The UK government’s decision to reduce its Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget from 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to 0.5% -- a cut of around £4 billion this year -- was confirmed last week by a majority of 35 votes in a House of Commons vote.

El Salvador’s Bitcoin Mining Proposal Faces Many Hurdles

That a country like El Salvador, poor and with many social needs, would embark on an effort to attract so-called bitcoin mining, which demands a huge amount of energy and does not generate large numbers of jobs, is an extravagance that many find hard to digest.

Cleantech Entrepreneurs Driving a Green Recovery in Barbados

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eastern Caribbean island nation, famed for its beautiful landscapes, pristine white-sand beaches and temperate climate, attracted around a million tourists each year.

The Future of Food is in Our Hands

With its political and economic clout, the G20 should lead in delivering sustainable food systems as the world grapples with rising hunger, malnutrition and inequality.

Striving for Sustainability in Global Food Systems

As the global community gears up for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit in September, it is significant that preparations are also underway by Global Reporting Initiative to deliver a new sector reporting standard for agriculture, aquaculture, and fishing.

Caribbean aims to Turn Foul-smelling, Enviro Problem Sargassum Seaweed into High-Value Products

A regular visitor to the islands of the Caribbean has become a dreaded nuisance over the past ten years. The sargassum seaweed that typically washes ashore now arrives each year in overwhelming, extraordinary amounts for reasons that are not entirely clear.

At the UN, Climate Change & Security Must Be Tackled Together

Could the next wars be triggered by climate change? Until recently, the question might have seemed like science fiction, but now it is very real. Ethiopia and Egypt are locked in an upward spiral of tensions over the Nile, as a combination of dams and shifting weather patterns pose existential risks to both countries.

“If Only the Fighting Would Stop “ A Sudanese Woman’s Wish

With her bare hands, Roda clears debris and forages scraps from her wrecked teashop after attackers scorched Gumuruk, a town in the Greater Jonglei region where conflict frequently disrupts daily life and stifles progress.

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