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Some farmers in Ghana kill saplings on their land over fears their food crops will one day get damaged by loggers who come to clear the trees.
And in Cameroon, while communal forests can generate up to 50 times more income than what they did under state control, almost none of that money goes to families or toward roads, schools and other projects that benefit the community as a whole.
Studies published in a special issue of the journal Conservation and Society say despite reforms designed to promote community-managed forests in Africa, local people often have little incentive to preserve them.
Last month, China was granted US$95 million to reduce its production of hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), substances that are used primarily for cooling, refrigeration, and the manufacture of foam products. The funding comes from the Multilateral Fund (MLF) of the Montreal Protocol, because HCFCs deplete the ozone layer and are controlled under the Protocol. With access to these funds, between now and 2015 China will reduce its production of HCFCs by 10%, or 47,000 metric tons from 2010 levels, allowing it to meet the first reduction targets set by the Protocol.
The United Nations Rio+20 Conference called last year for urgent action to put the world on a more equitable and sustainable development path. Countries agreed that systems and behaviors that worsen poverty and inequalities, exclude women and marginalize others, are pushing our planet to its limits and must change.
Achieving sustainable energy yields benefits beyond the environment. It enables children to study at night, allows health clinics to store needed vaccines, and frees women from backbreaking chore and life-threatening smoke from wood-burning stoves. It creates a platform for better and more productive lives.
We've been thinking a lot lately about investing in "natural capital" in Asia and the Pacific - one of four key thrusts of ADB’s newly approved Environment Operational Directions for 2013-2020.
Ecosystems and biodiversity are on the decline in Asia and the Pacific. We put out a report last year together with WWF which depicts a stark picture. In the last 40 years, there has been a 67% decline in the health of ecosystems in the region. This is twice the global average!
This is part one of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth. Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against.
While the Song Bung 4 Hydropower project disrupted the lifestyle of the Co Tu ethnic group in central Viet Nam, it also became an opportunity for its members, especially women and children, to gain better education, health care, and improve their income opportunities. Their active participation in the resettlement process was key to the successful completion of a project that helped them design and build their future.
As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, CIFOR is organizing with its partners a two-day policy and science conference entitled "Sustainable forest management in Central Africa: Yesterday, today and tomorrow." Bringing together the region's leading policy makers, donors, media, researchers and forest experts, the conference will provide a forum for open discussion of the most critical issues and challenges facing the sustainable management of Central Africa's forests, the biodiversity they embrace and the people who depend on them.
Floods are among the most common causes of disasters in cities. Many cities are built on rivers or on low-elevation sites on coasts so they’re vulnerable to flooding. As cities expand, so the increased building further limits natural drainage and can increase flood risks each time it rains heavily.
In the last year, the list of cities where serious floods and loss of life has occurred include Jakarta, Chittagong, Manila, Beijing, Krymsk, Buenos Aires, various cities in Nigeria, New York and other cities in the US, and the Caribbean which was hit by hurricane Sandy in October 2012. In 2011 floods in Thailand devastated Bangkok and many other Thai cities (and rural areas).
It’s time to turn off the snooze button on the alarm clock and wake up!
Incremental achievements in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are possible before they “expire” in 2015 if linkages among strategies to achieve various goals are made. MDG 5 demands an improvement in maternal health. MDG 4 calls for an improvement in child health. MDG 7c demands for improved water and sanitation. The links between WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and maternal and child health are evident. Accelerated efforts to improve WASH will not only move us toward achieving MDG 7c, but they will also contribute to the achievement of health MDGs 4 and 5.
According to the 2012 Joint Monitoring Programme Report, more than 780 million people, or 11% of the global population, remain without access to an improved source of drinking water. About 2.5 billion people in 2010 lacked improved sanitation. An estimated 1.1 billion people, or 15% of the global population, still practice open defecation. The adoption of better sanitation and hygienic practices require easy access to water sources. In fact, five out of six users of improved sanitation also use improved water sources.
Natural capital includes, first of all, the resources that we easily recognize and measure such as minerals and energy, forest timber, agricultural land, fisheries and water. It also includes ecosystems producing services that are often ‘invisible’ to most people such as air and water filtration, flood protection, carbon storage, pollination for crops, and habitat for fisheries and wildlife. These values are not readily captured in markets, so we don’t really know how much they contribute to the economy and livelihoods. We often take these services for granted and don’t know what it would cost if we lose them.
The concept of accounting for natural capital has been around for more than 30 years. However, progress in moving toward implementation has been slow.
A major step towards achieving this vision came recently with the adoption by the UN Statistical Commission of the System for Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA). The SEEA provides an internationally agreed method, on par with the current SNA, to account for material natural resources like minerals, timber, and fisheries. The challenge now is to build capacity in countries to implement the SEEA and to demonstrate its benefits to policy makers.