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The World Bank approved its first ever development policy loan dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Indonesia. The US$ 200 million “Climate Change DPL” is designed to support the Indonesian government in its efforts to adopt a lower carbon, more climate-resilient growth path.
Rural areas in eastern regions, which typically enjoy higher levels of industrialization and urbanization, have suffered most from pollution. Various forms of pollution not only threaten the health of hundreds of millions of rural inhabitants, but also affect the urban population through contaminated water, air and food. Zhou Shengxian, Minister of Environmental Protection, recently revealed the extent of rural pollution; he stated that the waste discharged into water in rural areas accounted for 48 percent of total waste.
IDB to expand lending for renewable energy and climate–related projects in Latin America and the CaribbeanPosted on: 26 April 2010 - 4:02pm
Alfonso Wajuyata lives deep in the Amazon rainforest. Alfonso’s two-storey wooden house is far away from any town or city but every so often the air fills with the drone of heavy traffic. It is the sound of the trucks carrying felled logs to Ecuador’s timber markets. Much of this timber has been cut down illegally.
“Illegal loggers are coming in and chopping down a vast number of trees,” says Alfonso, pointing to gaps which used to be covered in vegetation. “It causes contamination – they spill fuel and throw plastic everywhere. They leave rubbish all over the forest and no-one comes to clean it up.”
Like most hill women in the Indian state of Orissa, Pulka Wadeka can’t read or write.
Then again, thanks to five months specialist training funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development, she can set up and operate a solar-powered 12-volt electricity system.
One of the major effects of climate change is unpredictable weather patterns. Over the past years Zambia has been frequently hit by drought and floods and this has posed serious challenges on agriculture, which is a major source of livelihood for most people.
In 2001/02 a severe drought showed how devastating the impact of climate change can be on national and household food security. Nearly half the population of Zambia was affected, largely because preventative measures could not be put in place early enough, and a lack of reliable information meant that relief and recovery responses were delayed and less effective than they could have been. With climate change likely to increase the frequency and severity of droughts and floods in Zambia, more effective ‘Early Warning Systems’ are becoming ever more important.
Temuco, with a population of 300,000, has the fourth most polluted air in the country, according to local media. The burning of firewood for heating, cooking, and other uses is the main source of soot particulates, known as "black carbon," that enter the air at levels 150 percent higher than the national standard and more than four times the World Health Organization's recommended limit.
Two California high school siblings are changing lives with their grassroots initiative to assist Indian farmers entrenched in poverty. Adarsha Shivakumar and Apoorva Rangan founded Project Jatropha to encourage the development of farmer-owned crops of Jatropha, a long living, economically viable shrub with seeds that can be converted into biodiesel.
World leaders have reached consensus on the need to go on a carbon diet to combat climate change, and most are acting to reduce their respective greenhouse gas emissions. Global emissions are expected to continue to rise, however, with much of the net increase coming from developing nations that are not subject to the landmark Kyoto Protocol agreement.
While G-8 nations may want developing countries to follow their lead in pledging to cut emissions within the next decade, the distinctive energy environments in South Africa and other growing nations make it much more challenging to make similar commitments.
The ecosystem of the Coral Triangle which encompasses six countries in the Asia-Pacific, including the Philippines, got another boost Thursday with a USD 40 million pledge of support from the U.S. government.
U.S. ambassador Kristie A. Kenney made the announcement at the second meeting this week in Manila of senior officials of the six nations and their partners involved in the project known as the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI)-- East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines, collectively called CT6.
Climate change is the most serious and biggest challenge for the extreme poor people of Bangladesh and other South-Asian nations but it has not been well communicated and understood at all levels, especially among the extreme poor segment of society, due to lack of adequate information dissemination. If we consider the case of Bangladesh, we can see that we are affected mainly in two ways. One is the global warming resulting in the sea level rise in the Bay of Bengal in the south, and another is the affect of the melting of ice in the Himalayan glaciers, often called the water towers of Asia, through its effects on the major rivers that run through the Ganges delta.
China is a country of contradictions. Its 27 years of economic boom have brought 400 million people out of poverty and created large urban centers bustling with trade. Many Chinese urbanites live in very comfortable conditions. Yet, in much the countryside, poverty rates of rural citizens remain high, for farmers are increasingly losing out in China’s economic reforms. According to an October 2006 Gallup WorldPoll, between 2004 and 2006 the incomes of urban dwellers rose by an average of 4,000 Yuan while rural residents saw an increase of only 3,300 Yuan.
This gap has lead to significant challenges in equal access to a clean environment. For example, 94 percent of urban residents claim to have running water in their homes—a luxury that only 47 percent of rural residents say they possess. Environmental degradation and pollution are two serious factors that exacerbate poverty in China’s countryside, while also threatening the health of vulnerable rural populations, particularly children.
Land degradation is becoming worse in severity and extent across many regions of the world, with croplands, in particular, declining in function and productivity, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in a new report.
Prior to the release of the report last Wednesday, U.N. Environment Program-funded research had estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of the world's 1.5 billion hectares of cropland suffered from some level of degradation. Now, using satellite imagery for the years between 1981 and 2003, the FAO researchers estimate that 24 percent of all land surface area is depleted.
Environment-poverty (E-pov) News is a monthly news bulletin of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)'s Natural Resource Management and Livelihood unit. This provocative bulletin brings you the latest developments on environment, poverty and governance in India and South Asia. It also features community initiatives on livelihood security. The newsletter regularly updates on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) on its development effectiveness.
Inside the newsletter issue:
Policy Watch: Rural water schemes leak: World Bank report
In Focus: Mendha (Lekha) demands its rights under Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
NREGA Updates: Telephone Based Banking Services to Check Irregularities in NREGA Wage Payments
Resources: The Vast Majority Income (VMI): A New Measure of Global Inequality
Down To Earth: Read latest stories on poverty and environment
On a recent trip into the rainforests of the Indonesian part of Borneo Island, our team got first-hand accounts of the effects, causes -- and the possible solutions -- to rampant illegal logging.
Indonesia has nearly 70 million people living in or near forest land, many of them living on less than US$1 per day. Illegal logging operations cause widespread destruction of forests and, although it does earn short-term gains for a few, it destroys the livelihoods of people who depend upon the forests.
In the remote town of Takhtbai in the North West Frontier Province, people took to the streets during a march to raise awareness during the biannual Child Health and Sanitation Week.
During the week, events to reduce child deaths and disease by promoting better health, sanitation and hygiene practices were launched in six districts across the country. Activities included the provision of free immunization and deworming services for children as well as offering information about the importance of exclusive breast feeding, Oral Rehydration Salts and safe drinking water.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are joining together to support the preservation of Asia’s Coral Triangle – the world’s centre of marine life – with the GEF committing $63 million to fund conservation of this area.
The ‘Coral Triangle’ is found within the Indo-Pacific, its boundaries defined by marine zones containing 500 or more species of reef-building coral. This triangular shaped region covers all or part of the seas of six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.
Three years ago, residents of coastal and upland villages in San Fernando City polluted their drinking water with their own excreta. Today, they take pains to practice safe hygiene and sanitation. An innocent looking dry toilet and an untiring city mayor propelled this shift through a 2-town ecological sanitation pilot project that has evolved into a citywide movement. Can the city carry the momentum forward to the entire province and neighboring towns?
Compressed Natural Gas has been around since the 1980s. Through an ADF-supported project, it has finally taken off in Dhaka.
As with other big cities in Asia, Dhaka suffers from high levels of pollution, much of it caused by vehicular traffic. This teeming city of more than 10 million people has roads that are noisy and busy, filled with buses, cars, “auto rickshaws,” cycle rickshaws, and trucks.
Yet Dhaka in recent years has managed to cut pollution down drastically. Measured in particulate matter, pollution came down about 60% between 2001 and 2004, said Abdul Wadud, Managing Director, Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL).
RPGCL can certainly take some of the credit for this. The company was charged with introducing compressed natural gas (CNG) in Bangladesh and making this environmentally friendly fuel readily available for use. To this end, RPGCL has opened CNG filling stations and set up conversion workshops for vehicles so that they can switch to CNG. The company has also helped to convert many of Dhaka’s smoke-belching buses to “green” vehicles using CNG, which is much kinder to the environment than the traditionally favored fuel: diesel.
Indigenous peoples have contributed the least to world greenhouse gas emissions and have the smallest ecological footprints on Earth. Yet they suffer the worst impacts not only of climate change, but also from some of the international mitigation measures being taken, according to organizers of a United Nations University co-hosted meeting April 3 in Darwin, Australia.
A new generation of antibiotics, new treatments for thinning bone disease and kidney failure, and new cancer treatments may all stand to be lost unless the world acts to reverse the present alarming rate of biodiversity loss a new landmark book says.
The new book, ‘Sustaining Life,’ is the most comprehensive treatment of this subject to date and fills a major gap in the arguments made to conserve nature.
Providing toilets to millions of people is not a walk in the park; especially not in the country that ranks second in the world’s most populated, and certainly not in the one with the most densely populated cities. The task is even doubly difficult in a country where the introduction of new technology challenges people’s most cherished traditions and beliefs.
This, the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation (Sulabh), a nongovernment organization in India, knows only too well.
Since 1970, the New Delhi-based Sulabh has been installing toilets all across India to replace dry latrines, encourage people to discontinue open defecation, and in the process, get rid of one of oldest, dirtiest, and lowliest occupations in the country -- the manual collection and disposal of human feces. This unhealthy job falls unto unfortunate scavengers or “night soil workers,” most of whom are women and “untouchables”—the lowest of society’s low according to India’s complex caste system.
Pushi is very clean, washing her hands with water and soap whenever she uses the latrine and rinsing out the latrine pan when she is finished. Bulu, on the other hand, never washes his hands. After going to the latrine, he wipes them on his trousers.
Pushi and Bulu are characters in the hygiene play performed by fifth-grade students at Gabtali Registered Primary School in a remote village in south-western Bangladesh.
The play is part of a hygiene and sanitation programme introduced by UNICEF in districts affected by Cyclone Sidr, along with partners CARE, Oxfam, Islamic Relief and NGO Forum. A category 4 storm, Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on 15 November 2007, destroying many homes and most of the latrines in Gabtali.
Miyoba Milton is a big man with a big job – Headmaster at the Government Basic School in Choma. He is responsible for approximately 600 pupils and just over a dozen teachers. His authority is tempered with humility and enthusiasm.
“I never knew the importance of washing my hands until I learned from the children here!” Mr. Milton confessed at a recent performance of the school’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education (WASHE) Drama Group.
“It’s too important to keep in school. We must spread the messages of water, sanitation, and hygiene everywhere, so that at school and at home children are always healthy and our community is safe and clean. Our children are truly the best teachers,” he added.
Admired by her peers at the Tawayel El-Sharqiyya School, Fatima, 10, is a natural leader. When Fatima speaks out about the urgent need to begin protecting the environment, the other students listen. She hopes they will also follow her example.
“I have learned a lot about how to keep the environment safe at school,” Fatima said. “Now, whenever I meet a child who doesn’t take care of the environment, I feel sorry for him, and I try and tell him ways to change his habits.”
Fatima’s commitment to improving environmental awareness in her school and village stems in part from the efforts of UNICEF’s School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE) project, which was launched last year. Hers was one of the 373 primary schools in the Assiut, Sohag and Qena governorates reached by the SSHE project.
The project’s positive impact on the close-knit communities of the Upper Egyptian villages and towns has been manifold.
Today, Mr. Kemal Derviş, UNDP Administrator and UN Under Secretary General commissioned a biomass gasifier plant, which uses carbon neutral biomass to produce electricity for rural villages, in Boregunte village in Karnataka. The project is supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)/UNDP, India Canada Environment Facility (ICEF), and the Government of Karnataka and managed and run by the community.
The plant in Boregunte, Madhugiri cluster, is funded by the Global Environment Facility, and supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India, the Government of Karnataka, and UNDP. It is the second plant commissioned under this project and has the capacity of delivering 250-kilowatt electricity. This will enhance the reliability and quality of electricity in these villages and generate additional livelihoods. The Gram Panchayat has signed an agreement with the Bangalore Electric Supply company to sell excess power.
A new and significant global report about the state of water distribution and management in the world is being launched at the Champar Tep Pagoda in Kampong Speu Province during a Spotlight on Water in Cambodia session.
The United Nations Development Programme Global Human Development Report 2006 entitled, Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis, advocates strongly for the recognition of water as a universal human right. It also calls for concerted efforts from both national governments and the broader donor community to address water as a fundamental building block in securing the lives and livelihoods of the world’s poorest people.