After centuries of poverty, marginalisation from national development policies and a lack of support for positive local practices and projects, the semiarid regions of Latin America are preparing to forge their own agricultural paths by sharing knowledge, in a new and unprecedented initiative.
"The harvested water has helped us at critical times and the fog nets have also brought us visibility. Today we produce beer here and many tourists come," says Daniel Rojas, president of the Peña Blanca Agricultural Community in Chile.
A communally built small dam at almost 3,500 meters above sea level supplies water to small-scale farmer Cristina Azpur and her two young daughters in Peru's Andes highlands, where they face water shortages exacerbated by climate change.
The Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho is a place of stark beauty; deep canyons, majestic highlands, vertiginous hillsides, alpine grasslands, sun and sky. Although no bigger than Belgium, it is a critical watershed, giving rise to the headwaters – the ‘white gold’ – that feed two of the major river systems of southern Africa, the Senqu (Orange) and uThukela.
Sexual and reproductive health and pandemics might seem to be unrelated topics, but large and dense populations are drivers of the high velocity transmission of COVID-19, and there are lessons to be learned for the future.
There is a single species that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic - us. As with the climate and biodiversity crises, recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity – particularly our global financial and economic systems, based on a limited paradigm that prizes economic growth at any cost. We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones.
A Trinidad and Tobago parliamentary report in 2018 made two disturbing observations about that country’s quarry sector:
- Of the 67 mining operators on record, only 6 were operating with current licenses;
- The State loses large sums in the form of unpaid/uncollected royalties from quarry companies.
“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.
The international community is developing policy measures and actions to help the people most vulnerable to drought to take early action to avoid loss of life, and the heavy and growing losses of livelihoods and damage to property and ecosystems following droughts.
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.
Let’s face what lies ahead with open eyes: 2020 is going to be a very tough year for the world, and developing countries in particular. The infant decade has already begun with the harbingers of climate disaster as thousands fled to beaches in Australia from raging bush fires, and the Middle East braced for more conflict after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad killed Iran’s top general.
By any measure this has been a devastating year: fires across the Amazon, the Arctic and beyond; floods and drought in Africa; rising temperatures, carbon emissions and sea levels; accelerating loss of species, and mass forced migrations of people.
In Argentina's Puna region, at 4,000 metres above sea level, the color green is rare in the arid landscape, which is dominated by different shades of brown and yellow. In this inhospitable environment, daily life has improved thanks to a system of piping water downhill from rock glaciers to local communities.
The last time Siyabulela Sokomani ran a marathon he did so with a tree strapped to his back. A native wild olive sapling to be exact. It affected his race time for sure, with the seasoned runner completing the 42.2 km race in 4.42 hours rather than his usual 3.37 hours.
The annual rhythm of the United Nations year peaks with the General Assembly in September. One month on, it’s a good time to reflect on this year’s gathering which was remarkable for its focus on fighting climate change, the transforming effect of one 16 year old girl telling it like it is, and the way people heard her words in a way they haven’t heard before.
Nearly 50 million people in west Africa rely on agriculture and livestock for their livelihood but the land available for pastoral use has been rapidly shrinking.
Headwinds are blowing amid IMF warnings of a “synchronised slowdown” in global economic growth, yet Africa’s investment drive is still gathering pace, supported by intense international competition in development finance.
Abdoulaye Maiga proudly displays an album showing photos of him and his family during happier times when they all lived together in their home in northern Mali. Today, these memories seem distant and painful.
“Special reports come to address issues that need deeper understanding and deeper research,” Dr James Kairo, one of the lead authors of the ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
,’ a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told IPS.