Rwanda's Nyungwe National Park stands on the spine of Africa. The forest generates a damp micro-climate that spreads well beyond the Park's boundaries. 2200mm of rain falls in this area each year and a huge amount is stored by the rainforest in the trees, plants and soil. Scientists call it a 'Highland Water Tower' -- an incredibly valuable ecosystem that stores water year round - even through the dry season - releasing it slowly into the surrounding region. So Nyungwe is vital for the water supply to local populations and tea plantations and it feeds the head-waters of two of the world's greatest rivers - the Nile and the Congo. Produced by tve and EEMP for UNEP.
Volcanoes National Park was the first conservation area ever created in Africa. It protects a vast, and vital, forest ecosystem - one of the last refuges of the mountain gorilla. But balancing the needs of the environment and the local population is not always easy. Staff at the nearby eco-tourism centre used to make a living from poaching but now their knowledge of the rainforest is now shared through music and dance. A wider approach could bring further benefits to local people -- if international schemes begin to finance tropical forests as global assets that help reduce climate change. Produced by tve and EEMP for UNEP.
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The magnificence of the Himalayas belies the daily hardships for the rural poor who live on the mountains of Nepal. But the poorest of the poor are now in the forefront of a controversial new government scheme to reforest barren hillsides. The scheme has given Laxmi, and other poor landless farmers a new lease of life. But wealthier villagers criticize the scheme insisting the land could be put to better use. Earth Report visits Nepal to find out how well the scheme is working.
Until recently China's Loess Plateau was one of the poorest regions of the country. But a major project is restoring fertility and hope. Centuries of continuous agriculture have removed the trees and leaving land vulnerable to erosion from wind and rain. An area the size of Belgium, its once fertile soils have been washed away, leaving a blighted land scarred with deep ravines - and farmers scarcely able to make a living. According to soil scientist John Liu, its a story repeated all over the world. For 15 years hes been following a remarkable project to replant trees and stablise the soils of the Loess Plateau. Once bare hillsides are now cloaked with green forest and productive fields. Earth Report follows John Liu on a journey from China to Africa to find out how the the lessons learnt re Loess Plateau could help restore degraded lands around the world.
Cleaning the environment and securing a sustainable future for the planet can create millions of green jobs. In Bangladesh, a program has given women not only access to clean energy but more importantly, a source of livelihood.
ADB's Sohail Hasnie, Principal Energy Special for Southeast Asia, explains why a business as usual approach to climate change is no longer viable.
Earth Report travels to Indonesia where recent fires have been laying waste to vast areas of peat swamp forest. The worlds tropical forests store 25 per cent of all terrestrial carbon and absorb 15 percent of our annual C02 emissions. But when those forests are cleared the tables are turned and forests emit CO2 rather than storing it. Scientists estimate that deforestation contributes up to 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Earth Report assess the destruction and asks if anything can be done.
Tom Tanner makes the case for pro-poor adaptation to climate change. By making adaptation sensitive to the needs of the groups most affected by climate change responses could double as a pathway out of poverty.
Robert Dobias, ADB's Senior Climate Change Advisor, discusses how climate change will increasingly cause typhoons, floods and a rise in sea levels leading to a slow but steady increase in migration in Asia.
Coastal communities across South East Asia are battling rising tides. Coastal development and now climate change have created a dangerous combination of sinking land and rising sea levels. Now those very shrimp farms are under threat from climate-related flooding. Java's fifth largest city is slowly sinking beneath the sea its port and many homes now under water for six months a year. Vietnam too is vulnerable. A one-metre increase in sea level will destroy much food production in the Mekong Delta the nations breadbasket - and force millions to flee. Earth Report finds out how the region is fighting back.
Jo Yamagata, Deputy Director General of ADB's Private Sector Division, discusses a US$200 billion project to convert municipal waste into clean energy that will light homes and fuel businesses in China. China is currently the world's largest producer of industrial waste -- generating 148 millions tons a year and growing at 8-10% annually.
Arjun Thapan, ADB Director General for Southeast Asia, discusses the urgent need to address untreated wastewater, which is responsible of 1 in 4 child deaths in Asia. 90% of wastewater in Asia's urban centers is not treated. Solutions lie in investment in wastewater management.
Eco-tourism in Palawan, the Philippines is thriving under community-managed conservation initiatives that are also increasing fishermen's catch, and incomes.
In Bali, Indonesia, reefs that were once devasted by cyanide and explosives fishing are now thriving again, thanks to innovative, community-driven regeneration efforts.
Earth Report looks at how Mozambique is adapting to the Zambezi under climate change.
The Ethiopian Government wants to give everyone a toilet in a country where only a third of its 77 million people have access to sanitation. From rubbish tips in the centre of Addis, to rural orchards across the Rift Valley, Earth Report discovers whether the Governments 'universal access plan' is working.
Many of Asia's poorest people live in unhealthy, squalid conditions, with no clean water or sanitation access. Families cannot escape poverty without water and hygiene infrastructure.
Haiti is a tiny island country in the Caribbean and the poorest in the Western hemisphere with 49 percent of its people live in absolute poverty.
Worldfocus special correspondent Benno Schmidt and producer Ara Ayer visited there recently and report that in their struggle to survive, Haitians are destroying the very elements of their environment that sustain them.
Over the past 30 years, storms, floods and droughts have increased threefold, according to the UNs International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. When extreme weather strikes, the poor are usually hit hardest. Disaster relief agencies try to pick up the pieces. But increasingly, governments and UN agencies are going one step further. Earth Report investigates how poor farmers in Honduras and fishing communities in Vietnam are working with disaster risk managers to strengthen natures defences against the violent effects of climate change.
How will plants and animals survive the effects of climate change? Earth Report travels to Southern Africa to follow the scientists who are uncovering evidence that nature is already adapting - with some species winners and others losers. The programme asks how we can help the natural world adapt to climate change.
Could the market place be the salvation for the world's forests? The debate over saving natural forests has been raging for 30 years, yet each year an area of forest the size of Panama is lost. Earth Report follows sustainable timber from the forests of Indonesia through the sawmills and furniture factories to the retailers in the UK to chart the new market for certified wood. The seller sells only certified replaceable timber and that's only what the retailer will take.
For every kilo of shrimp netted, up to 20 kilos of other sea creatures are needlessly killed. It's called bycatch and it makes shrimp trawling one of the most wasteful methods of fishing harming the marine environment and also damaging commercial fisheries. Earth Report travels to Mexico and the Philippines where the industry is trialling new nets and new practices that aim to drastically reduce the bycatch from shrimp fishing.
For 5,000 years the Marsh Arabs lived in the mythical Garden of Eden in the marshes of southern Iraq. Saddam decimated the marshes in the early 90s. Tens of thousands died; over 300,000 people fled into exile. With Saddam toppled the waters are returning. Earth Report discovers if Eden will ever be the same again?
China's frantic development depends on escalating electricity generation - at great cost to the environment. But in the remote south-western province of Guangxi the application of simple technology allows millions of poor families to cook and keep warm with biogas made from human and animal waste. Over 13 millions tonnes of firewood and nearly eight million tonnes of coal are saved every year.
The Aral Sea is notoriously regarded as the worlds worst man-made environmental disaster. This vast inland sea has halved in depth and lost 90 percent of its volume. Once thriving fishing ports are 50 kilometres from the sea and ships lie stranded in the salty desert. With World Bank help, the Kazakh government has built a massive 12-kilometre dam. Now water is returning to one half of the sea - but beyond the dam the other half remains dried up desert.
Forty per cent of the world's population are without access to a latrine or toilet. In the International Year of Sanitation, Earth Report travels to Bangladesh to discover changing attitudes to hygiene. No more open defecation: instead of top-down solutions, a new community-led approach has eradicated open defecation in more than 300 villages.
Viktor Kaisiepo from First Peoples Worldwide after speaking out as a witness in the International Poverty Hearing in New York. He talks about his work with the environment and poverty and the need for governments to hear the voices of impoverished people.