Mexico's Hidden Magnolias
Conservationist turned to photographer Roberto Pedraza Ruiz writes about the beautiful hidden Magnolias of Mexico
Jamaica’s drought tool could turn table on climate change
The article explains the Climate Predictability Tool developed and used by the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment & Climate Change as well as the National Water Commission of Jamaica to forecast water restrictions and the possibility of drought.
Topic:Climate change; Drought; Land degradation and restoration; Land management
African Countries Launch AFR100 to Restore 100 Million Hectares of Land
African countries launched AFR100 (African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative), a pan-African, country-led effort to restore 100 million hectares (386 thousand square miles) of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030.
Zero net livelihood degradation – the quest for a multidimensional protocol to combat desertification
The concept of Zero Net Land Degradation was recently proposed as the basis for a future protocol for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification to reduce global dryland degradation.
The author of this article suggests a new angle on the concept of Zero Land Degradation. He emphasizes importance of asset pentagon where means of subsistence are derived from a combination of livelihood strategies rather than from agriculture alone. Therefore, on the way towards reducing global land degradation, it is substantial to ensure sustainable outcomes for local farmers along with promoting sustainable land and soil management practices.
Topic:Drought; Land degradation and restoration; Land management
Sustainable land management can provide building materials for post-disaster recovery
This article explains how Sustainable Land Management (SLM) can provide valuable resources for the rebuilding process in post-disaster recovery. SLM aims at increasing the age structures of forests and thus forms more dense ecosystems with benefits for biodiversity soil and now post disaster management.
Topic:land management; sustainability
Platform for pastoralists aims to give voice to millions
The United Nations Radio published a radio contribution on the launch of a Pastoralist Knowledge Hub by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The Hub will enable pastoralists to connect and discuss issues like agricultural innovations or land regulations. Some examples of well-known pastoral communities include the Bedouin of North Africa, the Maasai in East Africa and Scandinavia’s Sami people.
FAO says the hub will function as an important platform to help the nomadic people project their voices, share knowledge, and affect policy debates.
Topic:land management; Food; Climate Change; partnership for capacity building
Once a Desert, Ethiopia Turns Wasteland Into Fertile Farms
This article written by Terry Turner from the GoodNewsNetwork, explais how the Ethiopian desert, full of drought and famine just a generation ago, is turning green with crops. Thousands of villagers are taking up ancient tools to transform the desert into a terraced landscape that acts like a giant irrigation engine to drive the growth of thriving vegetable farms.
Topic:Drought; Sustainability; land management
Permaculture in Malawi: using food forests to prevent floods and hunger
Pierre Moorsom introduces Permaculture projects in Malawi that are developing sustainable food systems for a country shifting between extreme climates of drought and heavy rains.
According to this article, a new approach of integrating food production systems within intact forests could contribute to food security and boost resilience of food production systems to climate change.
Topic:sustainability; land management; Agriculture; Forests; Food
Soil- Why are we still destroying it?
This article written by George Monbiot stresses that the global pressure put on soils has yet to reach public awareness. Reviewing the data of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) that by keeping on current agricultural practices only 70 years of continued agriculture will be possible until this resource is depleted. The article reviews current policy inefficiencies particularly in Britain and the European Union addressing in particular public subsidies. The author calls for on open dialogue in the media, reviews alternative agricultural practices and calls for policy frameworks that protect soil.
Topic:land management; sustainability; environment
Bringing Soils To Life For sustainable landscapes and prosperous societies
This article highlights the importance of healthy soil to secure food availability and face the global climate change challenge while helping to meet Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, raising global awareness for and undertaking actions to bring degraded land to life through better management has a lot of advantages, such as: storing water, delivering nutrients to crops, curbing damage from natural disasters like floods, harboring diversity, capturing carbon, and providing all the other ecosystem services that are essential for sustaining and improving life.
Topic:Capacity Building Topics
Discovery of beans that can beat the heat could save “meat of the poor” from global warming
The most important source of protein in Latin America and Africa and climate change has strongly affected the production of this vital source of protein but plant breeders have discovered 30 new species of beans that resist the increase in temperature according to CGIAR climate change experts.
Topic:Agriculture; Food; Sustainability
'Water man of India' Rajendra Singh bags top prize
The Stockholm water prize has been awarded to Mr. Singh from India. He is known as the Water man of India and has brought water to over 1000 villages. He uses simple and cost effective methods of rain water harvesting to bring water to villages.
Topic:Water; sustainability; Capacity Building Types
Cropping Africa's wet savannas would bring high environmental costs
Analytics and policy makers have targeted African wet savanna's to produce staple food. New research led by researchers from Princeton University, has put light on the negative effects of such a decision, noting that only 2-11% of these savannas have the potential to produce staple food sustainably.
Topic:land management; sustainability; Agriculture
Climate-smart knowledge empowers female farmers in Kenya
According to CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), with support from local partners farmers in Kenya have created a number of climate-smart techniques and drought-resistant seeds to learn what works best for their area. Getting it right is important; as climate-smart farm practices have the ability to support smallholders adapt to, and mitigate climate change while improving yields and income.
Topic:Agriculture; Food; Gender
Nine steps to survive 'most explosive era of infrastructure expansion in human history'
A team of scientists call attention to nine issues that must be considered if there is to be any hope of limiting the environmental impacts of the ongoing expansion of new roads, road improvements, energy projects, and more now underway or 'coming soon' in countries all around the world.
Topic:land management; environment; sustainability
"Direct evidence that drought-weakened Amazonian forests 'inhale less carbon'"
A group of international researchers measured the growth and photosynthesis rates of trees at 13 rainforest plots across Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, comparing plots that were affected by the strong drought of 2010 with unaffected plots. It became evident that plots affected by drought, had much less photosynthesis rates compared to unaffected plots resulting in less CO2 intake.
Lands for Life (Suelos para la Vida)
This magazine contains the following articles on suitable land management practices in Latin America: Learning from history to restore our soils; International Year of Soils 2015: a chance to catch up with the knowledge of farmers; Living soil and organic matter; Food security and climate change mitigation; Healthy soils, reliable food; Production of organic matter and innovative farming practices in Cuba; Soil management in the Andean highlands of Ecuador; Resilience of sandy soils; Recovery of degraded soils in the Amazon; Traditional strategies for conservation and use of organic soils.
Topic:land management; Drought
Ten things you should know about soil
This article prepared by the Sustainable Food Trust introduces ten facts about soil sciences.
Economic models provide insights into global sustainability challenges
Scientists at the University of Purdue have concluded that using models that blend global economics, geography, ecology and environmental sciences is essential to understanding how changes in trade and natural systems in one part of the world affect those in another.
Topic:land management; sustainability; Climate Change
Cattle damage to riverbanks can be undone
Jonathan Batchelor and William Ripple of Oregon State University in the US, lead authors of a study published in Springer's journal Environmental Management, find out that grazing cattle may be the main reason for degradation in river banks of Western America. This study shows that simply removing cattle may restore river banks to previous states.
Climate change may dramatically reduce wheat production
A recent study involving Kansas State University researchers find out that in the coming decades at least one-quarter of the world's wheat production will be lost to extreme weather from climate change if no adaptation measures are taken.
Topic:Agriculture; Climate Change
Farmers can better prevent nutrient runoff based on land characteristics
Researchers at the University of Iowa have discovered that if there is no action taken against climate change wheat yields my decrease up to 25% in the up coming decades.
Topic:land management; Agriculture
Warming Pushes Western U.S. Toward Driest Period in 1,000 Years
A study made by the Earth Institute warns of unprecedented risk of drought in 21st Century, where the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains will face persistent drought, worse than anything seen in times ancient or modern times.
Shade Coffee is For the Birds
A University of Utah-led research team studied birds in the Ethiopian home of Arabica coffee and found that shade coffee (a form of agroforestry in which coffee trees grow under a canopy of forest trees) has proven to be the most biodiversity friendly type of coffee production.
Topic:Biodiversity; Forests; land management; sustainability
Tiny termites can hold back deserts by creating oases of plant life
This article from Princeton University explains how large dirt mounds of termites are crucial to stopping the spread of deserts into semi-arid ecosystems and agricultural lands, where termite mounds store nutrients and moisture, and via internal tunnels allow water to better penetrate the soil.
Scientists Reprogram Plants for Drought Tolerance
A University of California (UC) Riverside-led research concluded that 2014 was the warmest year of record, temperatures are rising and drought periods are becoming longer. Researchers at this University have developed methods that help plants resist drought.
Topic:Drought; Biodiversity; Sustainability
La BAD lancera un programme pour les jeunes diplômés africains
La Banque africaine de développement (BAD), sous la strategie du developpement agriculturelle, a projete' un program de introduction des jeunes aux secteurs de l'agriculture et l'agro-industrie.
Topic:Agriculture; Awareness Raising; Education
How Reducing Food Waste Could Ease Climate Change
This article in National Geographic explains how one third of the food that is produced worldwide turns into waste. Large amounts of fresh water is used in agriculture to produce food that eventually turns into waste. At the same time, according to this article, more than 800 million people suffer from hunger globally, and food production is one of the highest CO2 emitting procedures.
Topic:Food; Agriculture; Climate Change
Largest forest concession in the Congo Basin receives FSC certification
The largest contiguous forest concession in the tropics is now certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). With this concession, now 4.8 million hectares are protected in the entire Congo basin. This protected will ensure the protection of the soil, endemic species and also for the indigenous people living in this area.
Topic:Forests; land management
Warmer world threatens wheat shortages
This article from The Ecologist reveals that wheat yields could decrease up to 42 million tons per year if the average temperature of earth increases by 1 degree, consequently increasing food prices and food insecurity in many developing countries.
Topic:Agriculture; Food; Climate Change
Systems crucial to stability of planet compromised
This article written by Prof. Elena Bennett, of McGill University’s School of the Environment, explains the planetary boundaries ( ecosystem services) on planet earth and how they have been severely changed due to anthropogenic activities. The most significantly compromised boundary is clean water. Contaminated water pollutes soil and in turn polluted soil produces unhealthy food.
Topic:sustainability; environment; Awareness Raising
Beating back the desert in Burkina Faso, field by field
In Burkina Faso, what was once stony semi-wasteland is now covered in verdant crop fields, rescued from relentless desertification.
Using simple agricultural techniques largely spread by word-of-mouth, this tiny West African state has rejuvenated vast stretches of scrubby soil over the past 30 years, proving they are not doomed and giving hope to other vulnerable areas in the region.
Humans erode soil 100 times faster than nature
Researchers at the University pf Vermont have discovered that removing native forests and substituting them with agricultural land has accelerated soil erosion dramatically.
Topic:land management; sustainability
Subsurface Water Retention Technology (SWRT) for Crop Improvement on Coarse Textured Soils
Subsurface Water Retention Technology (SWRT) is a drought resilient water and nutrient conservation technology that produces greater quantities of grain, cellulosic biomass and vegetables with less water and fewer nutrients. It is a new technology for ameliorating plant drought that increases irrigation efficiency by keeping water in the root zone. Using this technology on sandy acres of highly permeable soil into sustainable agricultural production has the potential to transform lifestyles, improve rural employment and economies in areas with these soils.
Topic:Agriculture; Drought; Food; environment; land management
New insights into the origins of agriculture could help shape the future of food
Scientists have identified two key characteristics shared by the wild relatives of current crop plants. Crop wild relatives are better at growing close together in fields, making them ideal for using in agriculture. Modern crops' wild relatives are source of useful traits that may help to increase yields or increase resilience to climate change.
13-year Record of Drying Amazon Caused Vegetation Declines
With global climate models projecting further drying over the Amazon in the future, the potential loss of vegetation and the associated loss of carbon storage may speed up global climate change. A decade of druoght and less rainfall has decreased vegetation in parts of the Amazon basin.
Can organic crops compete with industrial agriculture?
Contrary to what was thought before, scientists have discovered that organic food production has higher yields. This new discovery is an important incentive for practicing sustainable agriculture. The studies suggest that the gap between industrial agriculture and agreoecologically produced food can be filled with appropriate investments.
Protecting the rainforest through agriculture and forestry
Conservationists are always looking for ways to halt the pace of deforestation in tropical rainforests. One approach involves recultivating abandoned agricultural land. Researchers found afforestation and intense pasturing to be particularly effective, clearly increasing the environmental and economic value of abandoned farmlands.
Text available in Spanish, Portuguese and German.
Topic:Forests; Agriculture; Sustainability
Conserving soil and water in dryland wheat region
In the world's driest rainfed wheat region, researchers have identified summer fallow management practices that can make all the difference for farmers, water and soil conservation, and air quality. Wheat growers in the Horse Heaven Hills of south-central Washington farm with an average of 6-8 inches of rain a year. Wind erosion has caused blowing dust that exceeded federal air quality standards 20 times in the past 10 years.
Topic:Drought; Agriculture; Water; Sustainability
Climate Change Could Affect Future of Lake Michigan Basin
The effects of climate change in the Michigan Lake basin may appear as drier soil, less snow precipitation and increase in growing season of crops. “Warming climate in the Lake Michigan Basin could affect agriculture and crops, recreation, flood and drought risks and ecological processes like fish spawning,” said Daniel Christiansen, a USGS scientist and the lead author of the study.
Topic:Climate Change; Agriculture
Plants have little wiggle room to survive drought
Based on new findings, researchers have announced that plant species across the world are more susceptible to drought than what was thought previously. The reaction of plants to drought is a key element in plant conservation.Plants adapt to less precipitation by using special osmosis mechanisms and by absorbing salts in their organisms. This ability differs from specie to specie.
Boosts in productivity of corn and other crops modify Northern Hemisphere carbon dioxide cycle
An article from the National Science Foundation in the U.S., explains how during growing season of crops, specifically corn in summer in the northern hemisphere, carbon levels drop considerably. Carbon concentrations rise again during winter when the growing season has ended. Since crop production has doubled since the 1960s the amount of carbon absorbed and released by crops is up to billions of metric tons annually and scientists expect the numbers to grow higher. Carbon concentration in the atmosphere is an important factor for crop yield and can effect food security in countries affected by climatye change.
Topic:Agriculture; Climate Change; Food
Vegetation Stability during and after Droughts Analyzed
About 40% of earths terrestrial surface is covered by dryland in which annual evaporation is higher than precipitation. Predictions of climate change effects on drylands are alarming. The projected changes are more frequent and longer periods of drought. Knowledge about vegetation stability would be essential for more accurate predictions of the effects of climate change in these areas.
Farmers, scientists divided over climate change
Crop producers and scientists hold deeply different views on climate change and its possible causes, a study shows. Researchers surveyed 6,795 people in the agricultural sector in 2011-2012 to determine their beliefs about climate change and whether variation in the climate is triggered by human activities, natural causes or an equal combination of both.
Topic:Agriculture; Climate Change; Education
World governments failing Earth's ecosystems, says top conservationist
Governments are lagging behind on international commitments to safeguard the planet’s ecosystems, with politicians failing to grasp that economic growth depends upon environmental protection, the head of the world’s leading conservation organisation has warned.
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of the IUCN, the body that advises the United Nations on environmental matters, told Guardian Australia that conservation needed to be properly embraced by political leaders.
Topic:land management; Biodiversity; Awareness Raising
Who will come to your bird feeder in 2075?
The distribution of birds in the United States today will probably look very different in 60 years as a result of climate, land use and land cover changes.
Topic:land management; environment; Climate Change; Biodiversity
Future air quality could put plants, people at risk
Future ozone levels could be high enough to cause serious damage to plants and crops, even if emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced, says new research. And without sufficient reductions in emissions, ozone levels could also pose a risk to human health.
Topic:Awareness Raising; Climate Change
A fraction of the global military spending could save the planet's biodiversity, say experts: Only one in four protected areas is well managed
A fundamental step-change involving an increase in funding and political commitment is urgently needed to ensure that protected areas deliver their full conservation, social and economic potential.
Enough water in the future? Swiss research identifies solutions to potential user conflicts
The Swiss water economy is not optimally prepared to cope with the forthcoming changes in terms of climate and society. Nevertheless, new research concludes that Switzerland will have enough water if regional collaboration is expanded, if sustainable solutions to water conflicts are found and if water protection efforts are continued.
Climate, emerging diseases: Dangerous connections found
Climate change may affect human health directly or indirectly. In addition to increased threats of storms, flooding, droughts, and heat waves, other health risks are being identified. In particular, new diseases are appearing, caused by infectious agents until now unknown, or that are changing, especially under the effect of changes in the climate. These are so-called "emerging" or "re-emerging" infectious diseases, such as leishmaniasis, West Nile fever, etc. According to the WHO, these diseases are causing one third of deaths around the world, and developing countries are on the front line.
Topic:Climate Change; Poverty Reduction
Beating water and land shortages in the Middle East and north Africa
Water and arable land are more scarce in Middle East and North African (Mena) countries than in any other region. Growing demand, population growth, a shrinking resource base, and climate change are combining to rapidly increase pressure on these resources.
Topic:land management; Water
No quick fix for global warming
A debate has broken out between politicians and scientists as to whether atmospheric warming can be delayed by reducing short-lived climate forcing agents. An international research team has now confirmed that a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is the only long-term remedy for global warming
Topic:Climate Change; sustainability
Groundwater patches play important role in forest health, water quality
Patches of soaked soil act as hot spots for microbes removing nitrogen from groundwater and returning it to the atmosphere. The discovery provides insight into forest health and water quality.
India air pollution 'cutting crop yields by almost half'
Air pollution in India has become so severe that yields of crops are being cut by almost half. Researchers analysed yields for wheat and rice alongside pollution data, and concluded significant decreases in yield could be attributed to two air pollutants, black carbon and ground level ozone. The finding has implications for global food security as India is a major rice exporter.
Research partnership is key to biodiversity conservation
A new policy paper aims to increase awareness among researchers of the High Conservation Value (HCV) approach to safeguarding ecosystems and species. The HCV approach is widely used in sustainable land management schemes to identify important ecosystems and species to conserve, but is little known in academia and the scientific evidence base is lacking.
IPCC: rapid carbon emission cuts vital to stop severe impact of climate change
Climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly, according to the most important assessment of global warming yet published. Most important assessment of global warming yet warns carbon emissions must be cut sharply and soon, but UN’s IPCC says solutions are available and affordable.
Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC
The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a UN-backed expert panel says
Wrangling data flood to manage the health of streams
Today's natural resource manager tending to the health of a stream in Louisiana needs to look upstream. Way upstream -- like Montana. Scientists have invented a way to more easily manage the extensive nature of streams.
Global overpopulation would ‘withstand war, disasters and disease’
The pace of population growth is so quick that even draconian restrictions of childbirth, pandemics or a third world war would still leave the world with too many people for the planet to sustain. Rather than reducing the number of people, cutting the consumption of natural resources and enhanced recycling would have a better chance of achieving effective sustainability gains in the next 85 years.
Topic:sustainability; Awareness Raising
Salt-loving plants may be key to global efforts for sustainable food production
Farmland is vanishing in part because the salinity in the soil is rising as a result of climate change and other human-made phenomena. Researchers propose a new concept for breeding salt- tolerant plants as a way to contribute to global efforts for sustainable food production.
Reducing population is no environmental 'quick fix'
New multi-scenario modelling of world human population has concluded that even stringent fertility restrictions or a catastrophic mass mortality would not bring about large enough change this century to solve issues of global sustainability.
Topic:Sustainability; Poverty Reduction; Climate Change
Climate change caused by ocean, not just atmosphere
Most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere. A new study reveals another equally important factor in regulating Earth's climate. Researchers say the major cooling of Earth and continental ice build-up in the Northern Hemisphere 2.7 million years ago coincided with a shift in the circulation of the ocean.
Brazil's Severe Drought Dries Up Reservoirs
Due to the worst drought in eight decades in southeastern Brazil, water levels have dropped dramatically in the reservoirs that supply São Paulo, the country's largest city. New satellite imagery from NASA reveals that critical reservoirs there have dwindled to 3 to 5 percent of storage capacity, creating shortages in the region.
Global boom in hydropower expected this decade
An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce the number of our last remaining large free-flowing rivers by about 20 percent and pose a serious threat to freshwater biodiversity.
Topic:Renewable Energy; Sustainability; Biodiversity
Mature forests store nitrogen in soil: May help protect waterways from excess nitrogen from industry
Ecologists working in central Pennsylvania forests have found that forest top soils capture and stabilize the powerful fertilizer nitrogen quickly, within days, but release it slowly, over years to decades. The discrepancy in rates means that nitrogen can build up in soils. Forests may be providing an unappreciated service by storing excess nitrogen emitted by modern agriculture, industry, and transport before it can cause problems for waterways
Coping with water scarcity: Effectiveness of water policies aimed at reducing consumption evaluated
Southern California water agencies have turned to new pricing structures, expanded rebate programs and implemented other means to encourage their customers to reduce consumption. Some of those policies have greatly reduced per capita consumption, while others have produced mixed results.
Global consumption an increasingly significant driver of tropical deforestation
International trade with agricultural and wood products is an increasingly important driver of tropical deforestation. More than a third of recent deforestation can be tied to production of beef, soy, palm oil and timber. 'The trend is clear: the drivers of deforestation have been globalized and commercialized,' says one expert.
Topic:Forests; Sustainability; Climate Change
'Shrinking goats' another indicator that climate change affects animal size
Alpine goats appear to be shrinking in size as they react to changes in climate, according to new research. In recent years, decreases in body size have been identified in a variety of animal species, and have frequently been linked to the changing climate. However, the researchers say the decline in size of Chamois observed in this study is striking in its speed and magnitude.
Topic:Climate Change; Biodiversity
10 ways development can support family farmers
This article pinpoints the most important issues that NGOs need to address while working in the global south.
Mediterranean, Semi-Arid Ecosystems Prove Resistant to Climate Change
Climate change predictions for the Middle East, like other arid regions of the world, are alarming. In an area known for its water scarcity, rainfall is expected to decrease even further in the near future, spelling disaster for the functioning of unique ecosystems — hotspots of biodiversity and rich genetic fodder for essential crops. The reseach done by professor Sternberg proves otherwise though.
Topic:Climate Change; Drought; ecology
Three practical steps to go from hunger to abundance in Africa
On current trends the African continent will only produce 13% of its food needs by 2050. Yet the same continent holds almost half of the world’s uncultivated arable land. And each year at least 10 million young people in Africa enter the workforce, whose skills and labour could be the key to making sure Africa’s food needs are met self-sufficiently
Topic:Agriculture; Food; Poverty Reduction
Hottest September Ever Keeps Earth on Pace for Record Year
September brought more record heat globally, and meteorologists say Earth is now on pace to tie for the hottest year ever recorded.
Amazon deforestation picking up pace, satellite data reveals
The deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has accelerated rapidly in the past two months, underscoring the shortcomings of the government’s environmental policies. Satellite data indicates a 190% surge in land clearance in August and September compared with the same period last year as loggers and farmers exploit loopholes in regulations that are designed to protect the world’s largest forest.
Topic:Forests; Biodiversity; Awareness Raising
10 drivers for sustainability in global food production and consumption
A recent roundtable hosted by the Guardian, experts from industry, research and academia discussed how to make the food system more sustainable.
A manifesto for solving the global food crisis
Poor food distribution has left more than 805 million people hungry world wide and some 1.4 billion people are over weight or obese. to solve this problem we need to help small-scale producers, for example those in rural Africa, access markets.n much of the world, the price paid for food does not reflect the environmental cost of producing it. Overcoming such issues require regulations, policies and engaing the public.
World Food Day: 10 myths about hunger
Find out more about the following 10 myths:
1. There is a global food shortage, 2. Most of the world’s hungry live in Africa, 3. Men are the world’s primary food producers, 4.Malnourishment is caused solely by a lack of food, 5. Global hunger is worsening etc.
Topic:Food; Agriculture; Drought; Awareness Raising
Shrinking resource margins in Sahel region of Africa
The need for food, animal feed and fuel in the Sahel belt is growing year on year, but supply is not increasing at the same rate. New figures from 22 countries indicate falling availability of resources per capita and a continued risk of famine in areas with low ‘primary production’ from plants. Rising temperatures present an alarming prospect, according to a study.
Topic:Food; Agriculture; Sustainability
Plant communities produce greater yield than monocultures
Monoculture agriculture is unsustainable, main cause of soil erosion and water evapotranspiration. Monocultures remain the principal crop form and are regarded as the sole possibility of achieving higher yields in plant production. New research shows that the cultivation of crop mixtures in agriculture and forestry will play a key role in food safety in the future.
Fighting over groundwater: water companies vs. environmentalists
Yet the owners of Catfield Fen fear groundwater abstraction by a local farm could be imperilling the delicate ecosystem.Catfield Fen and its neighbour Sutton Fen, both near the east Norfolk coast, are home to more than 90% of the UK’s population of fen orchids.
One step for managing groundwater resources on the demand side, for instance, is the introduction of mandatory household meters to better monitor water use.
Topic:Biodiversity; ecology; Water
New discovery will enhance yield and quality of cereal and bioenergy crops
A team of scientists have developed a new way of identifying genes that are important for photosynthesis in maize, and in rice. Their research helps to prioritize candidate genes that can be used for crop improvement and revealed new pathways and information about how plants fix carbon.
Topic:Climate Change; Renewable Energy; Sustainability
One-Third of Food Is Lost or Wasted: What Can Be Done
30% of food produced globally is wasted every year, which is equal to 1.23 trillion kilograms. This amount of food can feed 3 billion people annually. This article in National Geographic explains different ways in which the world can reduce food waste.
Middle Eastern vegetation resistant to climate change: Ecosystems withstand more than seven lean years
Ecosystems in the Middle East are home to a wealth of unique species -- including the ancestors of many of our staple crops. Yet the climate scenario in this dry region is alarming. Already, the region has a relatively small amount of water available for every person living there -- and it is predicted that in the future, there will be even less rain. New research shows that Middle Eastern ecosystems might be more resilient than previously thought.
Topic:Drought; Climate Change; ecology
Role of business in disappearance of 50% of world's wildlife
Based on the Living Planet Report 2014 of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the global Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of the Kingdom Animalia, has registered a 52% decline in wildlife between 1970 and 2010. Illegal trade and deforestation are among the main causes of this decline.
Topic:Biodiversity; Sustainability; Forests
For healthy food we need living, organic soils
This article from the Ecologist explains how degraded soil has affected the nutrition value of fruits and crops, directly affecting the performance and vital functions of plants.
Topic:land management; Food
A Gulf in Ocean Knowledge
Based on resent research it has become evident to scientists that the amount of heat absorbed by the oceans is up to 58% more than what they had believed.
Topic:Climate Change; Awareness Raising
Food shortages are everyone’s responsibility
Based on UN data by 2050 food productions must increase by 70%. This pronouncement sparked much debate about the need to build a more sustainable food system. The meaning of sustainability and the risks for the supply chains needs to be defined. Awareness concerning sustainable products need to be implemented in the costumers mentality.
Topic:Capacity Building Topics old; Sustainability; Food
How saving West African forests might have prevented the Ebola epidemic
Deforestation has destroyed much of the region’s habitat for fruit bats and put these Ebola carriers into greater contact with people.Fruit bats carry the Ebola virus, but generally don’t die from it. The virus could easily have migrated from Central to West Africa inside them in much the same way that birds spread West Nile virus across North America: passing it among flocks during seasonal migrations.
Topic:Forests; ecology; Awareness Raising
Here's Why We Haven't Quite Figured Out How to Feed Billions More People
Solving the world's looming food crisis will require big investments in agricultural research, yet public support for that is lagging. By 2050 the human population of earth will increase by 35%, to feed the increasing population agricultural yields must increase by 50 %. Most increases in agricultural production during the past half century have come from that type of innovation: boosting crop and livestock yields on land that already was being used for agriculture. Studies indicate that this growth in productivity has stemmed largely from investments in agricultural research.
Topic:Agriculture; Food; Diplomacy
Forests are emerging out from the shadow of fossil fuels in climate debate
The importance of forests in the climate change process has been over shadowed by fossil fuels in the past decades. But in the latest's UN climate summit in New York, light has been shed on the importance of forest status in climate change.
Topic:Climate Change; Forests
Top Global Warming Causes – Natural or Human?
In this article the human and natural causes of CO2 missions are mentioned and compared.
Topic:Climate Change; sustainability; Forests
Food game: how well do you know the world? - interactive
Play this game to learn more about where food is produced and consumed!!!
Topic:Food; Awareness Raising
Aral Sea's Eastern Basin Is Dry for First Time in 600 Years
Once the fourth largest lake in the world, Central Asia's shrinking Aral Sea has reached a new low, thanks to decades-old water diversions for irrigation and a more recent drought. Satellite imagery released this week by NASA shows that the eastern basin of the freshwater body is now completely dry.
Topic:Water; Sustainability; Agriculture
Livestock insurance could protect cattle-herders in Africa from drought
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in collaboration with Cornell University and technical partners, has pursued a research program aimed at designing, developing and implementing insurance products to protect livestock keepers from drought-related asset losses. Using satellite imagery to assess the amount of forage available, Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) provides insured pastoralists with a pay-out in times of drought based on predicted rather than actual livestock deaths.
Topic:Drought; Sustainability; Food; Poverty Reduction
Colombia rice growers saved from ruin after being told not to plant their crop
Colombia’s rice farmers were already struggling with climate change and unfair trade rules when they received an unlikely recommendation based on research from one of the winners of the UN Big Data Climate Challenge: “Don’t plant in this sowing season.” The advice came from Fedearroz, the main organisation for rice growers in the country, and helped 170 farmers in Córdoba avoid economic losses of an estimated $3.6m.
Topic:Agriculture; Awareness Raising; Drought; Climate Change
If Trees Could Talk: Forest Research Network Reveals Global Change Effects
Permafrost thaw drives forest loss in Canada, while drought has killed trees in Panama, southern India and Borneo. In the U.S., in Virginia, over-abundant deer eat trees before they reach maturity, while nitrogen pollution has changed soil chemistry in Canada and Panama. More than 100 collaborators have now published a major overview of what 59 forests in 24 countries teach us about forest responses to global change.
Topic:Forests; Climate Change
Flooding Risk From Climate Change, Country by Country
If global carbon emissions continue on current trends and sea levels are affected by climate change about as much as expected, about 2.6 percept of the global population (about 177 million people) will be living in a place at risk of regular flooding. in this page you can also see the effect in other scenarios.
Topic:Climate Change; Awareness Raising; Water
Instant farmers' market: startup aims to renew food system with direct sales
Demand for fresh, local food is exploding – and the farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs that provide it are flourishing across the US. But while these options have expanded the reach of local agriculture, they may still represent a barrier for many farmers.
Scientists reveal ‘fair system’ for countries to tackle climate change
Rich nations should make the deepest emission cuts and provide most money if countries are to share fairly the responsibility of preventing catastrophic climate change.The US would have to cut up to 70% and transfer up to $634bn to make a fair contribution.
Topic:sustainability; Climate Change
Climate change report identifies 'the most vulnerable' sections of the population
A report has looked at which sections of the population are left most exposed to food shortages after extreme weather events. Extreme weather events leave populations with not enough food both in the short- and the long-term.
Topic:Climate Change; Food; Drought
Mystery of cereal grain defense explained
Crop scientists have explained how genes in the barley plant turn on defenses against aging and stressors like drought, heat and disease, showing that specific genes act as a switch that enables barley to live longer and become more tolerant of stress, including attack by common diseases like mildew and spot blotch.
Topic:Agriculture; Drought; Food
Illegal land clearing for commercial agriculture responsible for half of tropical deforestation
A comprehensive new analysis says that nearly half of all recent tropical deforestation is the result of illegal clearing for commercial agriculture. The study also finds that the majority of this illegal destruction was driven by overseas demand for agricultural commodities including palm oil, beef, soy, and wood products.
Topic:land management; Forests
Information platform on 2015 International Year of Soils
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has launched the International Year of Soils (IYS) website. The IYS website will be the main platform to share information and relevant resources regarding the International Year of Soils (IYS) with different partners.
Topic:land management; environment; Sustainability
Agricultural revolution in Africa could increase global carbon emissions
Productivity-boosting agricultural innovations in Africa could lead to an increase in global deforestation rates and carbon emissions, a study finds. "Increasing productivity in Africa -- a carbon-rich region with low agricultural yields -- could have negative effects on the environment, especially if agricultural markets are highly integrated," a researcher said. "This study highlights the importance of understanding the interplay between globalization and the environmental impacts of agricultural technology. They are deeply intertwined."
Topic:land management; Agriculture; Climate Change
How conversion of forests to cropland affects climate
The conversion of forests into cropland worldwide has triggered an atmospheric change to emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds that -- while seldom considered in climate models -- has had a net cooling effect on global temperatures, according to a new study.
Topic:Forests; land management; Climate Change
Global Food Trade May Not Meet All Future Demand, U.Va. Study Indicates
Global food security and the patterns of food trade that have been minimally studied, are the focus of new research. As the world population continues to grow, by about 1 billion people every 12 to 14 years since the 1960s, the global food supply may not meet escalating demand, particularly for agriculturally poor countries in arid to semi-arid regions, such as Africa's Sahel, that already depend on imports for much of their food supply, researchers say.
Topic:Food; Awareness Raising
The double threat of climate and land use change enhances risks to biodiversity
Scientist have developed a new approach to measure the combined exposure of species to both climate and land use change. This new metric was used to assess the risk to species in the face of combined rates of climate and land use for the US from 2001 to 2051. By integrating both future climate change and intensifying land use threats a different set of conservation priorities emerge than if one considers risk from climate change alone.
Topic:Biodiversity; land management; Climate Change
Indigenous Peoples Prevent Deforestation. What About Other Local Communities?
Strengthening legal recognition of indigenous peoples’ or local communities’ rights to land leads to less deforestation, which is a simultaneous win for people and a win for forests, and a convenient alignment of social and environmental agendas. The indigenous rights agenda is important on its own terms. And halting tropical deforestation is critical for maintaining a safe and stable climate.
Topic:Awareness Raising; Forests
When land is degraded, its people and their prospects are degraded too
An insight into the spill over effects of land degradation, including those who use the land and derive livelihoods from it. A well balanced and multi-dimensional approach must be adopted to combat the far-reaching impacts of land degradation.
Climate variability, adaptation strategies and food security in Malawi
This paper assesses farmers’ incentives and conditioning factors that hinder or promote adaptation strategies, and thereby evaluate their impact on crop productivity. It distinguishes between exposure to climatic disruptions, bio-physical sensitivity to such disruptions, farmers’ ability to prepare and adjust to the resulting stress, and system-level adaptive capacity. The choice of risk-reducing agricultural practices, household financial adaptive capacity, and the role of external interventions impacting agriculture have been investigated extensively to map the capacity building activities in relevant fields.
Topic:Climate Change; Capacity Building Topics old; Food
Smart application of surfactants gives sustainable agriculture
Researchers have investigated the interaction between the plant's barrier, plant protection products and adjuvants that are added to increase the effect of the plant protection product. The results of this research can be applied to minimize the use of plant protection products in agriculture.
Dire UN Climate Reports Raise Questions About Global Willpower
A trio of United Nations-sponsored climate reports released over the past seven months point to a dangerously warming planet, but big questions remain about whether the world's nations will take action and, ultimately, about whether the reports will matter.
Climate Models Underestimate Costs to Future Generations
Future generations will have to pay more for today's carbon emissions than what governments across the world currently understand. The climate models used by policymakers around the world to estimate the economic and social costs of CO2 emissions have to be improved according to experts
Agroforestry systems can repair degraded watersheds
Agroforestry, combined with land and water management practices that increase agricultural productivity, can save watersheds from degradation. A study from the World Agroforestry Centre in the Gabayan watershed in eastern Bohol, Philippines, shows that agroforestry systems create a more sustainably managed watershed that allows people living there to benefit from the ecosystem. The benefits include higher crop yields, increased income and resilience to climate change.
Topic:land management; sustainability; Agriculture
UNEP Report Details Transformation in Land Use
23 percent of global soil has been affected by widespread biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, attributed to increasing pressures on land by the growth of crops for protein-rich diets and for biofuels and biomaterials. Available data indicate that competition for land and food insecurity will only increase in the future, due especially to the displacement of small-holder farmers by international investors. Capacity building in developing and transition countries is a key prerequisite for improving food security, local livelihoods and environmental quality.
Topic:Drought; Biodiversity; Food
Kenyans Earn First Ever Carbon Credits From Sustainable Farming
Smallholder farmers in western Kenya are now benefiting from carbon credits generated by improving farming techniques. These are the first credits worldwide issued under the sustainable agricultural land management (SALM) carbon accounting methodology.
Interview: UN official says desertification deserves more attention
Desertification and land degradation would affect lives of ordinary people and cause many global problems including terrorism, thus deserved more attention from all stakeholders, said a top UN official in an interview with Xinhua.
Topic:Awareness Raising; Drought; Climate Change; Biodiversity; Poverty Reduction; Forests
It’s a family affair: the success of integrated landscape management in Mexico
Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible (CCMS), a non-governmental organization, is using an integrated approach to tackle the problems of the diverse landscape in Mexico. Read their story in this article.
Topic:Drought; Climate Change; Poverty Reduction
Let a billion trees bloom: Can a great green wall of trees stop China’s spreading desert?
Since the 1980s, the Chinese have planted billions of trees to bring back the land after decades of deforestation as the population grew and industrialization transformed the country. From 2000 to 2010, large swaths of land — equivalent to the size of Massachusetts — were reforested every year.
The International Year of Family Farming
The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) aims to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its significant role in alleviating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.
The goal of the 2014 IYFF is to reposition family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas by identifying gaps and opportunities to promote a shift towards a more equal and balanced development. The 2014 IYFF will promote broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholders and help identify efficient ways to support family farmers.
At the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, 2014 was formally declared to be the “International Year of Family Farming” (IYFF). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was invited to facilitate its implementation, in collaboration with Governments, International Development Agencies, farmers' organizations and other relevant organizations of the United Nations system as well as relevant non-governmental organizations.
Topic:Awareness Raising; Biodiversity; Climate Change; Drought; Education; Food; Forests; Gender; Migration; Poverty Reduction
New MSU Water-Saving Technology Nearly Doubles Harvests
This article shows how subsurface water retention technology is improving yields, water resource conservation and reducing ground water pollution. Global fresh water resources are declining and simultaneously the demand for water is rising due to a growing world population. Reducing subsurface runoff of irrigation water therefore is a promising approach to conserve water resources.
Topic:land management; sustainability; Food; Drought; Agriculture
Plans for PhD fellowships unveiled at TWAS meeting
South-South collaboration to increase PhD fellowships for scientists in developing countries gained momentum as this week's annual meeting of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) ended with the announcement of various programmes for the coming years.
Climate change research capacity gets funding boost
The Climate Impacts Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) programme is aimed at strengthening African research skills to enable institutions and researchers to develop home-grown solutions to climate change related impacts at local and national levels.
Topic:Awareness Raising; Education; Climate Change
Combating desertification and drought; The youth’s involvement
In this article the author articulates the determination of the youth and their engagement in combating drought and desertification in arid and sami-arid regions of Namibia.
Topic:Awareness Raising; Climate Change; Biodiversity; Drought; Education; Food; Poverty Reduction
New World Map for Overcoming Climate Change
Using data from the world’s ecosystems and predictions of how climate change will impact them, scientists have produced a roadmap that ID's the world’s most and least vulnerable areas in the Age of Climate Change.
Topic:Climate Change; environment; Sustainability
How to use land sustainably
This article suggests some techniques for sustainable use of land based on experiences in some regions of the world.
Topic:Drought; Climate Change; Biodiversity; Awareness Raising; Forests; Poverty Reduction
Why women should own their land
When women own the land they till, families tend to be better fed, better educated and healthier, research suggests. Women account for nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers in developing countries, according to some estimates, and they increasingly make up the majority of farmers in places where men have moved to cities in search of work.
Topic:Education; Gender; Poverty Reduction; Drought; Biodiversity
Why we should care about women's right to land
Why do you care about women’s land rights? Isn’t it enough for the household to have land? This article gives some anwers to these very important questions.
Topic:Biodiversity; Drought; Food; Gender; Forests
Four traits the world's poorest share, and what that tells us about addressing hunger
Most of the world’s poorest citizens share four traits:
•They live in rural areas.
•They depend on the land to survive.
•They don’t have legal control over the land.
•They are women.
Topic:Food; Gender; Poverty Reduction
From rhetoric to action: Reaping gains through enhanced women's land and property rights
Capacity building at national, local and community levels to enable women to contribute to the land reform agenda, law reform and the configuration of institutions; participate in and access land administration and management institutions; and redress grievances through formal and traditional dispute resolution forums.
Topic:Food; Gender; Poverty Reduction; Drought
Nuevo observatorio agroclimático en Chile contribuirá a la alerta temprana ante eventos de sequía
Reducing vulnerability to drought and other climatic events with relevant and instant information for early warning. This is the main objective of the creation of the climatic Observatory implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture in Chile, released in the framework of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, celebrated every June 17.
UN Secretary-General's remarks at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder
The scientific community plays a key role in finding new ways to combat climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. He Also stressed that governments must use scientific data to mobilize resources and take action against this global threat.
Topic:Capacity Building Topics old
New soil atlas for Africa: Scientists unveil data that could modernize agriculture and improve food security
Researchers from around the world have compiled an atlas on soil diversity on the African continent, which could help agricultural workers in one of the world’s most food-insecure regions make better, smarter use of the land beneath their feet.
The atlas’s main purpose is to make the results of soil diversity research -- which has traditionally been a rather academic issue -- available to those who need it most.
Focus on Gender: Give women a say in dryland protection
Women are often unaware of their rights to resources and are excluded from decision-making. Results of a study presented this month revealed that the economic value of dryland ecosystems is higher in developing than developed countries, putting pressure on policymakers to prioritise dryland conservation in low-income nations. Successful policies will combine technical conservation with a people-centred focus and central to this will be recognising that many poor women rely on drylands for income.
Summary of the eleventh session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 11) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
As CRIC 11 delegates gathered in Bonn at the halfway mark of the UNCCD’s 10-year strategic plan, expectations were high that the recommendations of the 2nd Scientific Conference the previous week would inject new life into parties’ efforts to implement the Convention. But it quickly became apparent that reaching agreement on the diagnosis, let alone a prescription to restore degraded lands, was proving elusive. Was the Convention “in need of major surgery,” as one delegate put it, to survive beyond its 20th birthday, or was this perhaps a classic case of hypochondria? This brief analysis highlights the challenges of diagnosing and treating the Convention’s ailments that CRIC delegates faced as they sought to identify the most cost-effective tools for monitoring progress on the ground.
Topic:Capacity Building Topics old; Capacity Building Types
Summary of the third Special Session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-3) of the UNCCD
On Tuesday morning, 9 April 2013, CST Chair Antônio Rocha Magalhães (Brazil) opened the third special session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-3) of the UNCCD, stressing that its work will be important to making the UNCCD a world scientific and technical authority on DLDD issues, especially impact indicators. UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said the Scientific Conference’s evaluation of the socio-economic value of land should help motivate policymakers to make informed decisions towards a zero net land degradation (ZNLD) world.
Topic:Capacity Building Topics old; Capacity Building Types
Foreign students strengthen the EU
Approximately 200 000 foreign students and researchers come to the EU each year. They are often very talented people, who enrich their own education through this exchange, but also contribute positively to the EU through their knowledge and experiences. There is now an unfortunate trend in the decrease of the number of students and researchers arriving in the EU. The bureaucratic obstacles are a problem for the competitiveness of the EU, causing gifted researchers to look for opportunities elsewhere. As a consequence, we are missing people who could have contributed to development, growth and innovation after having finished their studies. In the EU today, despite the financial crisis and high levels of unemployment, there is already a shortage of people within e.g. engineering, health care, biotech and IT.
Topic:training in capacity building
ICARDA Newsletter Documents: Sustainable Agriculture Efforts in Drylands
The March Newsletter from the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) describes ICARDA's efforts to encourage long-term salinity management investments in Iraq's agriculture sector, micronutrient research in lentils, conservation farming in Iraq, and training on characterizing goat and sheep diversity for conservation and sustainable use in Ethiopia.
National Action Programme alignment workshop for Northeast, Southeast and South Asia
The workshop held from the 12 to the 14th of March, 2013 brought together representatives from 24 Asian countries to build their capacities to align their National Action Programmes to combat desertification with the 10-Year Strategy of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Topic:Forests; Water; Food
Desertification action programme alignment process now underway
The first of eight sub-regional workshops to be held globally on how to align National Action Programmes (NAP) to combat desertification with the 10-Year Strategy of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) took place in Maseru, Lesotho, from 12 to 14 February 2013. Developed through a participatory approach involving various governmental offices, scientific institutions and local communities, NAPs are the key instruments to implement the Convention. They spell out practical steps and measures to be taken to combat desertification in specific ecosystems.
Preparing for drought cheaper than waiting for it
U.N. agencies are calling on governments at a high-level meeting this week to start reacting more quickly to warnings of drought and put in place national policies to prepare for longer and worse droughts. "In the next decade to come, drought will continue escalating in severity, in occurrence and in duration," Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), told AlertNet from the conference in Geneva. "Preparedness and risk management cost-wise are unbeatable compared to relief and crisis management."
IFLA Launches Webpages on Libraries and Development
IFLA is pleased to launch a new set of resources relating to the role libraries play in supporting development. Access to information is one of the core needs of society and libraries are stepping up and fulfilling this need through capacity building, partnerships, training, and access opportunities for everyone
Topic:training in capacity building
UN partners with African Bank to boost participation in clean development projects
The United Nations has signed an agreement with the East African Development Bank to increase participation in clean development projects in the region. “The two regional collaboration centres in Lomé and Kampala are designed to help Africa increase its attractiveness and potential for CDM. Our goal is to build capacity, reduce the risk for investors in such projects and help make the continent an increasingly attractive destination for CDM projects" said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has made available the report of the workshop on capacity building for pilot countries on the implementation of synergies among the Rio Conventions
Workshop participants heard presentations from pilot countries, including Viet Nam, New Caledonia and Bermuda, as well as presentations on tools and activities. A representative of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) focused on the UNEP Decision Support Framework for ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and a series of guidelines on ecosystem-based adaptation; a Birdlife International representative addressed the opportunities for synergies offered through the Aichi targets, especially with regards to ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and REDD+; and a UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) representative presented on the UNEP-Global Environment Facility (GEF) project "Integrating approaches to national reporting to the Rio Conventions," intended to reduce the reporting burden on countries through improving the harmonization of reports to CBD, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Topic:Biodiversity; Climate Change; Drought
First meeting of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-1)
fter celebratory opening speeches acknowledging the historic establishment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES), delegates to IPBES-1 settled into a week of intense work in snow-covered Bonn to get IPBES up and running. Many brought years of experience from other MEAs, enthusiasm and an “incredible sense of cooperation,” as one delegate put it. These proved to be helpful assets, as there were numerous items to be addressed in order to build the institutional foundation required for IPBES to become operational. The IPBES Chair, members of the Bureau and the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) were elected. Delegates also agreed to a strategy for developing a first work programme for 2014-2018, and moved forward on rules of procedure, financial procedures, and institutional arrangements for the Secretariat.
Gambia: NBR Youths Resolved to Tackle Desertification
he G ambia's North Bank Region is the most affected by desertification, and it is against this backdrop that the youth of that region committed themselves to plant 10, 000 trees. This was a resolution passed by the NBR conference delegates, led by Lamin Sonko, in the 2012 NaYCONF. In their resolution, he added, they also recommended that the government and private sector create tertiary institutions in their region to help reduce rate of rural-urban migration. The region's youths further called on the government to provide them with skill training centres for building the capacity of youth in NBR.
Global Science Journalism Report
SciDev.Net partnered with the London School of Economics (LSE) and Museo da Vida (Brazil) to examine science communication around the world: journalists background, workload, and opinions on science communication, work environment and capacity building needs.
Small-scale farmers and climate change. How can farmer organisations and Fairtrade build the capacity of smallholders?
As climate change impacts are increasingly felt by smallholder farmers, there is an urgent need to identify approaches that strengthen ongoing economic development efforts and enhance the adaptive capacity of farmers, their households and their communities. Through a review of the published literature and analysis of case studies of two Fairtrade-certified farmer organisations in Uganda and Malawi, this paper explores the links between farmer organisations, Fairtrade and adaptation to climate change, and the extent to which such institutions and market arrangements can enhance the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers.
Topic:Food; Climate Change
Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world’s food crisis?
This article published by The Guardian shows how Philipp Saumweber is using the sun to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses as required, and thence cheaply grow high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables year-round in commercial quantities.
Topic:land management; sustainability; Agriculture; Food; Drought
It’s not just the money: institutional strengthening of national climate funds
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) analyzed a selected number of examples of capacity development measures and technical assistance for climate- and environment- related funds. These results of this analysis is presented in a new factsheet available at the link below. We hope that our own lessons learned from our operations can inform the work of other practitioners. These examples are part of GIZ’s broader range of projects experience in building capacity of national climate-finance institutions.
Topic:institutional capacity building
UN urged to create global fund for disaster prevention
The NGO Islamic Relief has urged the UN to establish a global contingency fund for disaster prevention as it is cheaper to help prepare for floods and drought than spend billions on emergencies.
Topic:Climate Change; Drought
EU unveils plan for global science partnerships
The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU), has set out a strategy to increase the EU's international cooperation and capacity building in science and innovation, including boosting partnerships with emerging economies and developing countries.
Topic:Food; Climate Change
Technology transfer in a changing world
The UN conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) recently reaffirmed the importance of transferring environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) to developing countries, 20 years after the first Earth Summit had put it under the spotlight.
Capacity building is vital for Africa
Speakers at the session Water Security: Opportunities for the 21st Century emphasized the need for increased capacity building if Africa is going to meet its water and sanitation goals.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; Water
Royal Society and DFID launch fund for African research
A £15.3 million (US$24 million) fund to build links between African research laboratories and strengthen their research.
Topic:Renewable Energy; Water; the use of know-how and traditional knowledge in capacity building
Six African countries made great strides in planning how to seek financing for trans-boundary and multi-country projects that would contribute to the Great Green Wall for the Sahel and the Sahara Initiative (GGWSSI), which brings together some 20 countries of the Sahel and the Sahara under the political leadership of the African Union.
China in Nigerian agriculture
Ten agricultural scientists from the Desert Control Research Institute of Gansu in Northwest China visited Nigeria and Niger to embark on a water conservation programme. Co-sponsored by the United Nations and Chinese government, this programme is an attempt to share best practices in agriculture, following the success of a similar anti-desertification project carried out by agricultural scientists in Gansu.
Topic:Drought; partnership for capacity building
New food security and nutrition project for Egypt-Italy finances $3 million project
The FAO announced a new $3 million project that aims to improve food security and nutrition of women and young people in Egypt. The project is being financed by the Italian government.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; Poverty Reduction; Food
Libya and FAO renew commitment to develop the country’s agriculture and food security- Joint programme aims to increase food production, protect natural resources
Libya and FAO have commited themselves to work together to develop the country’s agricultural sector and improve the food security and they signed a cooperation agreement.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; Food
Climate change, Desertification, and Migration: Connecting the dots
While climate change and desertification can often go hand in hand, each one able to exacerbate the other, the role these two factors play in migration is starting to gain increasing prominence in research circles. Understanding the role climate change is playing in migration, and the relationship this has with other factors is helping organisations such as the IOM give communities a choice about leaving their homes. This article explains how it is about making migration an option rather than a last resort.
Topic:Climate Change; Drought; Migration
Drought Risk Management: Practitioner's Perspectives from Africa and Asia
This publication is one of the main outputs from our activities of the Africa-Asia Drought Risk Management Peer Assistance Network. Drought is not a new phenomenon: a large part of Africa and Asia have been facing increased climate variability and extreme events. The terms such as risk reduction, vulnerability reduction and resilience building are increasingly becoming the new hot topic being highlighted at various drought discussion fora.
Cooperatives central to hunger fight
Cooperatives and producer organizations will be increasingly important in efforts to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty around the world, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told participants at the 2012 Thematic Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, during an official meeting with the Economic and Social Development Council (CDES) of Brazil.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; Poverty Reduction; Food
Pastoralists need capacity building more than technology
Researchers worked with pastoralists in Ethiopia and focused on non-technical options in human capacity building. One result of this work is that the pastoralists were more resilient in the following drought.
Topic:training in capacity building; the use of know-how and traditional knowledge in capacity building; Poverty Reduction
Australia to share farming lessons with Africa
The Australian government will establish an international food security centre to offer research and technical expertise to willing governments and institutions in Africa.
Topic:research on capacity building; training in capacity building; Food
Q&A: “Grabbing of Drylands is a Serious Concern”
Manipadma Jena interviews Dennis Garrity, Drylands Ambassador of the UNCCD. Garrity has focused on the development of small-scale farming in the tropics.
Topic:training in capacity building; Food; Drought
China helps Africans fend off sprawling desert
In a village of Nigeria's Kano state, Chinese scientists have joined their African counterparts in setting up a research base for desertification control and sand-related industries.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; research on capacity building; Drought
Scientists unite to put drylands on Rio+20 agenda
Scientists and policymakers from Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and France have called for better scientific cooperation and capacity building in the drylands with an eye on putting the drylands agenda on the UN Rio+20 summit agenda.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; Drought
Five pressing issues to be addressed by agricultural development
International agricultural development must broaden its scope to address food security issues, according to a new study. The research recommends removing boundaries between sectors to allow agricultural policy to account for impacts of macroeconomic trends, climate change and links between malnutrition and infectious disease.
Topic:research on capacity building; Food; Poverty Reduction
Combating land degradation in the High North
Eight specialists from countries facing severe land degradation in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia traveled to Iceland to meet local farmers, consultants, scholars and entrepreneurs in a week-long field trip. Organized by the United Nations University Land Restoration Training programme (UNU-LRT), the field trip gave participants the opportunity to study land degradation, restoration and land management.
SOUTH KOREA: Drylands Meet Deserts Gender
Delegates to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification’s (UNCCD) meeting underway in this South Korean city are convinced that women, though affected most by desertification, hold the key to addressing hunger through land regeneration.
Topic:training in capacity building; Gender
Frankincense and Myrrh harvest may encourage sustainable livelihoods in Ethiopia
A new CIFOR study says that the sustainable production and marketing of oleo-gum resins such as frankincense and myrrh could provide both valuable income options for poverty stricken Ethiopian communities and opportunities for enhancing carbon sequestration.
Topic:training in capacity building; Poverty Reduction
Laying A Foundation For Global Food Security
A newly released Progress Report on U.S. Leadership in Global Agricultural Development, states that pivotal changes within the U.S. organizations that administer agricultural development assistance, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, have put the United States in the position to lead global efforts on food security.
Topic:training in capacity building; Food
Tackling desertification and food security risks in Jordan
Jordan could face decreasing water supplies, viable farmland and food, if the arid and semi-arid lands of the country suffer from further degradation and become more desert-like. A project funded under NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme is attempting to address these threats. Scientists are conducting research in the Yarmouk Basin, a 1400 square kilometre area in the Badia region. This project will help to build capacity among Jordanian researchers.
Topic:research on capacity building; Drought
Ban urges poor nations' leaders to create conditions for economic development
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged leaders of the world's poorest countries meeting in Turkey to agree on a common position and send a strong political message to the rest of the world on the importance of investing in the least developed countries to eradicate global poverty.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; Poverty Reduction
Where Middle East and North Africa Water Leaders Engage
The World Bank Institute (WBI)’s Urban Water Program works together with the Arab Water Academy (in the United Arab Emirates) to promote capacity building in the water sector in The Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Topic:partnership for capacity building; Poverty Reduction; Water
Journalists schooled on the Rio Conventions
Selected journalists in Accra have been educated on the Rio Conventions, some key International Principles on environmental management, to enable them to track Ghana's progress since the country is a signatory to the conventions.
Topic:institutional capacity building; Education
Women’s Lingerie and Genetically Modified Organisms
In Burkina Faso, the lingerie company Victoria’s Secret and the agribusiness multinational Monsanto are working directly with farmers to increase their cotton production. After seeing both annual yields and prices for cotton decrease over the last few years, Burkina Faso producers began working with the Swiss NGO Helvetas to build capacity for organic production.
Topic:the use of know-how and traditional knowledge in capacity building; training in capacity building; Poverty Reduction; Education
UNDP Implements Project on Combating Desertification and Drought in Turkmenistan
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) are implementing an environmental project in Turkmenistan aimed at sustainable management of land resources and combating desertification and drought. The project supported the initiative of the local population in the project area Nohur to adjust the number of livestock and, as an alternative, develop horticulture and fruit gardening with the view of preventing degradation of pastures.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; training in capacity building; Food; Poverty Reduction
Indigenous knowledge meets science
For generations, the Nganyi people of western Kenya have served as rainmakers, helping local communities decide when best to prepare their land and sow their seeds. By observing subtle changes in nature that would be unnoticeable to most people - in air currents, the flowering and shedding of leaves of certain trees, the behaviour of ants, bird songs, even the croaking of frogs and toads - they have been able to interpret weather patterns and provide valuable advice. But even the Nganyi have been flummoxed by climate change and the alternating cycles of droughts and floods it is inflicting. A British-Canadian project aims to combine indigenous knowledge with modern science to build up climate change intelligence and disseminate it more widely in a community whose existence depends almost exclusively on farming.
Topic:the use of know-how and traditional knowledge in capacity building; Poverty Reduction; Climate Change
Wageningen University Launches Project To Improve Food Production and Soil Fertility in Africa
The Wageningen University has launched a new initiative to improve food production and soil fertility in Africa through expanding the production of legume crops and thus increasing inputs from biological nitrogen fixation.
Topic:training in capacity building; research on capacity building; Food
Anti-desertification plan gets official launch in Rio
Organizations from Africa, Brazil and France have officially launched a scientific collaboration to fight desertification in Africa. The collaboration was discussed at the Fight against Desertification in Africa conference in Niger in October 2011. The 'Declaration of Niamey' adopted at the conference highlighted the need for interdisciplinary research in the fields of desertification, drought and land degradation, focusing on social, economic and environmental issues.
NEW UN WEBSITE FOSTERS SHARING OF SUCCESSFUL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
The United Nations launched a new online database to strengthen partnerships between sustainable development projects in developing countries and enable communities to better manage their natural resources and local environment.
Topic:partnership for capacity building; Poverty Reduction
Translating local action into policy reforms in dryland Africa
Dry forests cover over 40 per cent of the African land mass and yield a range of products – timber, wood fuel, animal fodder, wild game, thatching grass, resins and much else – which are vitally important to the welfare of tens of millions of people. In many countries, forest-based enterprises provide over a third of all non-farm income in rural areas, but they could do much more to reduce rural poverty. A three-year project managed by CIFOR and funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) seeks to improve local livelihoods by encouraging forestbased enterprises in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia.
Topic:training in capacity building; Poverty Reduction
ECOLEX-What is ECOLEX
ECOLEX is an information service on environmental law, operated jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Jations Environment Programme UNEP. Its purpose is to build capacity worldwide by providing the most comprehensive possible global source of information on environmental law.
Topic:the use of know-how and traditional knowledge in capacity building; Education
Good Practice Guides
The Good Practice Guide series presents policy considerations, management tools, market-based instruments, and capacity-building methods that support biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction in a number of different development sectors. Each guide in the series is composed of a booklet and accompanying power point presentation.
Topic:training in capacity building; Biodiversity; Forests; Water
Community Forest Handbook
With an estimated 558 million people managing 1 billion hectares of agroforests worldwide, TFT’s new guide to working with smallholder agroforest managers is aimed at empowering communities to successfully launch sustainable forest businesses.
Cap-Net is an international network for capacity building in sustainable water management
It is made up of a partnership of autonomous international, regional and national institutions and networks committed to capacity building in the water sector.
Global Land Forum and Assembly of Members 2013: Inclusive and Sustainable Territorial Governance for Food Security
Every two years, ILC organises an international Forum to convene its members and other stakeholders on land to advance understanding of the complex and dynamic political, economic, environmental and societal linkages between land governance, food security, poverty and democracy. ILC’s ultimate objective is to mobilise its members and partners to influence land-related policy practice. In pursuit of this objective, the Coalition facilitates multi-stakeholder processes in the search for people-centred responses to land governance challenges. Date: 23/04/2013 - 26/04/2013
Topic:Food; Poverty Reduction
Capacity Building Workshop on Economic Valuation of Land and Ecosystem Services
Until recently, the value of land has been determined exclusively by its agricultural and economic productivity,” said Simone Quatrini, Coordinator for Policy & Investment Analysis of the Global Mechanism (GM). But now, with GM support, countries are building their capacities to assess quantitatively and qualitatively the total value of all the ecosystem services that land provides.
Read the full interview with Mr Quatrini on how the GM is working to embed the innovative approach of economic valuation of land (EVL) developed by the Offering Sustainable Land-Use Options (OSLO) consortium into financial and investment decisions by bridging the gaps between science, policy and practice.
Policy guidelines for the development and promotion of open access
UNESCO issued this publication to demystify the concept of Open Access (OA) and to provide concrete steps on putting relevant policies in place. Building capacities in Member States for Open Access is a necessary but not sufficient condition for promotion of the concept. Creating an enabling policy environment for OA is therefore a priority. This publication will serve the needs of OA policy development at the government, institutional and funding agency level. The overall objective of the Policy Guidelines is to promote Open Access in Member States by facilitating understanding of all relevant issues related to Open Access.
Topic:institutional capacity building
Ecological Sciences for Sustainable Development - Training Materials
Education, communication, and public awareness are essential elements in ensuring improvements in the quality of life of all people and their environment, eradication of poverty, reducing inequalities and promoting sustainable development.
Environmental education is key for respecting nature and for achieving international agendas, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD, 2005-2014).
Topic:training in capacity building; Drought; Biodiversity; Water
FAO and Messe Düsseldorf lead the SAVE FOOD - Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction
FAO and Messe Düsseldorf are collaborating with donors, bi- and multi-lateral agencies and financial institutions and private sector partners (the food packaging industry and others) to develop and implement the programme on food loss and waste reduction.
The start-up plan for this global initiative rests on four main pillars: Awareness raising; collaboration; policy, strategy and programme development; and, support to investment programmes and projects, including technical and managerial support, as well as capacity building
Joint launch of Capacity Building Project on Drought Preparedness by UN agencies
The UNCCD, The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in cooperation with the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC), on 12 March have jointly launched a project on capacity-building to support national drought management policies. The initiative kicked off on the sidelines of the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policies in Geneva.
Topic:Drought; Capacity Building Types
How Desertification Works
Can Desertification be Stopped? Is it possible to slow the progress of desertification or even stop it completely? Environmental experts say yes, but it will require a worldwide campaign to improve agricultural methods, regenerate plant life and conserve precious soil fertility...
Africa's agricultural potential
Farming first has created an interactive poster that gives information on current and potential agricultural status of Africa.
EU Development Funding Enters into Force, Signals Support for SDGs
The European Development Fund (EDF) will finance the EU's development cooperation projects in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and with Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) to assist countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Topic:Poverty Reduction; Sustainability
Growing Food in a Drought
Attainable Sustainable shares in this article practical tactics to consider, that will allow people to grow food in a drought prone area, such as plant selection and soil restoration techniques, and sustainable water management methods.
Topic:Water management; Land degradation and restoration; Land management; Drought
Trees in Drylands
This short story of the the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) elucidates environmental as well as socio-economical benefits provided by trees and other types of vegetation in drylands.
Topic:Drought; Food security; Land degradation and restoration
No-One Prepared Me For The Migration Situation in Niger
The article 'No-One Prepared Me For The Migration Situation in Niger' is written by Wagaki Wischnewski, the Public Information and Media officer of the UNCCD. It tells you of her firsthand experience on heartbreaking scenes linked to the desertification and droughts. Take a look on her story and also on related documentary 'The Out of Africa' segment of 'Years of Living Dangerously' by the National Geographic Channel.
Topic:Awareness raising; Drought; Land degradation and restoration; Land management; Migration