Category Archives: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

In a major win for the environment, world’s largest bank says goodbye to fossil fuel financing

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Nation of Change

Environmentalists have a reason to celebrate this week. The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced on Thursday that it will phase out its financing completely for fossil fuels within the next two years.


A power station in Poland. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The bank’s decision to end all financing of oil, gas, and coal projects after 2021 will make it the first multilateral lender to rule out financing for projects that contribute to the climate crisis.

EIB’s board voted on the decision on Thursday. They hope that this step will make EIB, which is the world’s largest multilateral financial institution, the world’s first “climate bank.”

“Climate is the top issue on the political agenda of our time,” said the bank’s president, Werner Hoyer. “We will stop financing fossil fuels and launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere.”

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Question for this article:

Divestment: is it an effective tool to promote sustainable development?

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EIB’s vice president, Andrew McDowell, went even further, calling this step “an important first step – not the last step, but probably one of the most difficult.”

Environmentalists are praising the bank’s decision. Bill McKibben of 250.org called it a “truly amazing win” and Friends of the Earth Europe said  the decision is a “significant victory for the climate movement.”

The decision is part of the bank’s new energy lending policy, passed with overwhelming support, and doesn’t outright ban fossil fuel projects but makes most of them impossible by instilling the following guidelines:

“Energy projects applying for EIB funding will need to show they can produce one-kilowatt hour of energy while emitting less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide, a move which bans traditional gas-burning power plants.”

According to Reuters, “Gas projects are still possible, but would have to be based on what the bank called “new technologies,” such as carbon capture and storage, combining heat and power generation or mixing in renewable gases with the fossil natural gas.”

Although the announcement is a year later than climate activists were hoping for, it calls for limited approval for projects already under appraisal by the bank. This could cause massive problems for the oil and gas industry, which according to The Guardian  has more than $200 billion in liquified natural gas projects planned over the next five years.

Regardless of the timing, the blow to fossil fuel industries is sure to be massive. Environmental groups have estimated that between 2013 and 2018 EIB handed out €6.2m every day to fossil fuel companies.

In the words of 350 Action Germany campaigned Kate Cahoon, this is “the beginning of the end of climate-wrecking fossil fuel finance.”

December Climate Strikes: Getting Started

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from The Sunrise Movement

On December 6th, young people across America will join a national #ClimateStrike to take the September strike’s momentum to our elected officials’ doorsteps.

When we striked in September, many politicians shared nice words of encouragement. But we need more than just kind words–we need clear commitments to action.

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Question for this article:

The youth climate strikes: Are they effective?

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Getting ready to organize a Dec 6 strike in your town is easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step 1: Register for this call!

Step 2: Find 3 friends who are excited to strike and down to watch the call with you!

Step 3: Watch the call together in one place — and have everyone bring a phone or laptop!

On the call, you’ll get to learn from people who organized Sept 20th strikes, and you’ll leave with a concrete plan to strike for a Green New Deal in your community!

REGISTER FOR THE CALL HERE!

A Worldwide Revolution Is Underway

…. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ….

An article from Democracy Now (The original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.)

Puerto Rico. Hong Kong. Ecuador. Haiti. Lebanon. Iraq. And now, Chile. People are rising up around the world against austerity and corruption, defying police forces unleashed to suppress them. Many of these mass movements share a fierce critique of capitalism. In Santiago, Chile, more than 1 million people flooded the streets last weekend, and mass protests continue. There, the brutal Pinochet dictatorship from 1973-1990, during which thousands of progressive activists and leaders were tortured, disappeared and murdered, was followed by decades of neoliberal policies, with rampant privatization, union busting, stagnant wages and increased costs for education, health care, transportation and other services. Chile, among the richest countries in South America, is also one of the most unequal. At least 20 people have been killed during recent protests there, further angering and emboldening the crowds. 

These global protests also occur at a critical inflection point in history, with as few as 10 years remaining for humanity to transition from a fossil fuel economy to one powered by renewable energy. On Wednesday, Chile’s embattled, billionaire president, Sebastian Pinera, abruptly announced that his country was cancelling plans to host two major international summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in mid-November, and the United Nations climate summit, the 25th “Conference of the Parties,” or COP25, in the first two weeks of December.

Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s COP25 president-designate, said, “The citizens have expressed in a strong way their legitimate social demands that require the full attention and all efforts from the government.”

Chile’s cancellation of the COP could be a setback for global action on climate. But climate activists should take heart: This renewed spirit of rebellion around the world signifies a rejection of the status quo, and could portend accelerated, grassroots mobilization to avert irreversible, catastrophic climate change.

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Questions related to this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

How effective are mass protest marches?

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“Social injustice and the climate crisis have a common root cause,” the Climate Action Network said in a release not long after Chile’s COP cancellation. “Climate justice and solidarity is fundamentally about the protection of human rights and a better quality of life for all.”

The climate crisis touches everyone, first and most forcefully the world’s poor. The mass uprising in Puerto Rico that forced the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rossello was the culmination of decades of frustration with Puerto Rico’s colonial status and the more current exploitation by Wall Street vulture funds. But the discontent was fueled by the utter devastation of the back-to-back hurricanes Irma and Maria two years ago. “The austerity policies that have been implemented have put the people of Puerto Rico in a position of vulnerability. Social inequality has increased to levels that we have never seen here,” Manuel Natal, a member of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, said on the “Democracy Now!” news hour days before Rossello’s resignation. “We need more democracy, not less democracy. We are on the brink of a political revolution here.” Rossello’s ouster was the first time in U.S. history that a governor was forced from office by popular protest.

Indigenous people are also leading the way, often at the front lines, confronting resource extraction with disciplined, nonviolent resistance. Hundreds of indigenous and campesino social leaders in Colombia have been murdered in recent years, simply for standing up for justice and environmental protections.

The Paris climate agreement specifically notes the importance of climate justice, and pledges to work “in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.” One of the enduring conflicts that has hampered international climate negotiations has been the refusal by wealthy nations, principally the United States, to accept the simple premise that “polluters pay.” The United States is the wealthiest nation in human history because, in part, it has polluted its way to the top, using cheap, dirty power: coal-fired power plants, diesel locomotives and now, so-called clean-burning fracked gas.

The Green Climate Fund was supposed to raise billions of dollars to finance renewable projects in poorer countries. The fund’s pledging conference last week fell short of its goal, primarily because the Trump administration reneged on the U.S.’s $2 billion commitment. Australia and Russia followed suit, refusing to make contributions.

A new study by Climate Central, a news and science organization, shows that climate-induced coastal flooding will likely be far worse than previously predicted, forcing between 200-600 million people, rich and poor, to flee their homes later in the century. Climate change-fueled wildfires are now raging across California, with hundreds of thousands of people evacuated from their homes and at least 1 million people without power.

Popular uprisings are also spreading like wildfire, though, against corrupt autocratic leaders, austerity and inequality. People are also flooding the streets, globally, linking the movements against inequality with the fight for a just, sustainable world powered by renewable energy.

Moroccan Researcher Karima El Azhary Wins International Sustainable Development Award

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An article from Morocco World News

Moroccan researcher Karima El Azhary won the 2019 Green Talents Award for her research in energy efficiency. The award ceremony took place on October 24, in Berlin. The ceremony saw 25 researchers from different countries earn awards.

The Green Talents Award aims to reward people with “high potential in sustainable development” from all over the world. The award is an initiative by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the award.

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Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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This year, 837 applicants from 97 different countries applied for the award. The jury, composed of expert scientists in sustainable development, selected 25 young researchers for the prize.

El Azhary is a PhD researcher at the Mohammadia School of Engineers in Rabat. She directed her research towards developing new sustainable construction and insulation materials, based on alimentary and agricultural waste. The aim of her work is improving thermal insulation and energy efficiency of buildings, mainly in underprivileged areas.

The award’s jury appreciated El Azhary’s “great commitment that allows an innovative and inspired research approach to relevant sustainability issues such as energy efficiency.”

They also recognized her volunteer activities as “she is part of international and national youth associations, which aims to encourage and help young people to invest in social entrepreneurship and sustainable projects.”

Following her recognition, the Moroccan researcher told the press that she is “honored and proud” of receiving the award. She also took the opportunity to praise her colleagues; “This award confirms the high competency of Moroccan researchers in all fields.”

The award would allow El Azhary to benefit from the German experience in sustainability science, innovation, and technology. It would also allow her to search for possibilities of cooperation with German universities and institutes in the field.

Representatives from the Moroccan embassy in Germany attended the award ceremony, along with presidents and leaders of international scientific research centers.

International Day of Peace: PAYNCoP Gabon helps protect the environment

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

from Jerry Bibang

As part of the celebration of the International Day of Peace, celebrated this year under the theme: “Climate Action, Action for Peace”, the National Coordination of the Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP GABON) took part last Friday, September 20th, in the plastic waste collection operation, organized by the United Nations system in Gabon.


Bautrin Ekouma, PAYNCoP National Coordinator Gabon and other volunteers during the activity

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( Click here for the French version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Indeed, aware that the global climate emergency threatens the security and stability of peoples around the world, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guteres, invited the “citizens of the world” to take measures and take concrete action to protect the environment. Following this call, PAYNCoP Gabon joined the United Nations system for a plastic bottle collection operation.

Led by Mr. Keita Ohashi, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Gabon (UNFPA), the volunteers crisscrossed the crossroads “behind the prison” through “the three quarters” up to the beach of the National High School Léon Mba. Approximately, more than 2000 plastic bottles have been collected and will be handed over to a young entrepreneur for recycling.

In his words of circumstance, Mr. Francis James, the UNDP Resident Coordinator Gabon encouraged young people to take ownership of climate change issues because it is the future of youth that is threatened.

This operation also registered the participation of other associations including the Citizens Movement for Good Governance in Gabon (MCB2G), the alliance for climate justice, Gabon section (PACJA GABON), Youth Students for Peace (YSP), the Federation for Universal Peace (UPF), PlasMandji and many others

Global climate strike: When, where and how you can join and take action

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Jackson Ryan from CNET

On Sept. 20, students and adults will rally across the globe, demanding immediate action on climate change. Here’s where you can join them.


Greta Thunberg leads the Fridays for Future Rally.
Ernesto Rucio/Getty

The planet is in a pretty bad way. The Arctic has been burning and fires still rage in the Amazon rainforest. Iceland recently held a funeral for a 700-year-old glacier killed by climate change. One million species are threatened with extinction and some have already been lost. We are living through a crisis — and the kids are absolutely not alright with where our planet is headed. Over the coming week, students and adults will join together in global strikes to demand action on climate change.

If you want to know the what, when and where of the September Global Climate Strikes, we have you covered.

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Question for this article:
Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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What is the Climate Strike?

When Greta Thunberg, a Swedish school student, sat in front of the Swedish parliament building with her hand-painted “Skolstrejk för klimatet” sign, she kick-started a worldwide movement. It wasn’t the first time school kids had walked out of school to demand change, but Thunberg’s one-person strike on the steps of parliament drew global attention. On Fridays leading up to the 2018 Swedish election, she’d miss class to protest, sign in hand.

Thunberg has become the face of the new movement, inspiring students across the world to leave school and demand action on climate change. In March, students took to the streets in over 2,000 cities asking adults to take responsibility for the climate crisis. Smaller strikes occurred in May, June and August.

The next series of strikes are set to be the biggest yet and will see students and adults walk out of their schools and workplaces to “demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.”

When is the Climate Strike?

The upcoming strikes will take place on two successive Fridays designed to coincide with an emergency climate action summit being held at the United Nations in New York beginning on Sept. 23.

On Sept. 20 and Sept. 27, thousands of climate strikes will take place in cities across the world. Thunberg herself will be attending the climate strike in New York City on Sept. 20, but no matter where you are across the world, a climate strike is likely within your vicinity.

Where can I join a strike?

A massive number of strikes are registered on the Global Climate Strike website, so that’s a great place to start if you’re seeking a nearby climate strike to attend.    

Kazakh capital to host 2019 UNWTO Urban Tourism Global Summit on SDGs

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from The Astana Times

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Nur-Sultan Akimat (city administration) will organise the eighth UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism under the Smart Cities, Smart Destinations theme in the Kazakh capital Oct. 9-12. The summit will contribute to the UN New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The summit will bring together representatives from national tourism administrations, city authorities and related stakeholders to exchange expertise and set a shared vision to advance urban tourism. Participants will discuss sustainability, accessibility, innovations and inclusion of tourism in the urban agenda contributing to the progress of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The gathering will focus specifically on Goal 11, which is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“According to the UN, in 2015, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas and, by 2030, this share is expected to reach 60 percent. Along with other key pillars, tourism constitutes a central component in the economy, social life and the geography of many cities in the world and is, thus, a key element in urban development policies… Tourism is intrinsically linked to how a city develops itself and provides more and better living conditions to its residents and visitors,” reported the summit’s website emphasising the importance of the chosen topic.

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Question related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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The summit will focus on how developing smart cities can address urban challenges. The participants will discuss sustainability, accessibility, urban management, innovation and technology, stressing the importance of including tourism in the wider city agenda as a contributor to inclusive, resilient and sustainable urban development.

During the summit’s first day, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) will give a masterclass on trends in the convention industry, focusing on topics such as how to be a successful destination for meetings and organise sustainable meetings.

The second day will start with an opening ceremony including Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Altai Kulginov, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and other higher officials. The participants will adopt the Smart Cities, Smart Destinations Declaration. This will be followed by the mayors’ meeting, where “mayors from around the world will share insights on how to translate a smart city into a smart destination,” and other panel sessions and on the topic.

The summit’s last day will be dedicated to innovative and technological solutions in tourism, the role of public and private partnerships in technologies to develop the sphere and urban destinations’ accessibility through “increased awareness of the opportunities it brings and the emergence of new innovative solutions.”

The decision to have the event in Nur-Sultan was made at the seventh UNWTO Global Summit in Seoul last year. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and the then Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Bakhyt Sultanov signed April 5 an agreement at the UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism in Lisbon, where the akim presented information about Nur-Sultan’s infrastructure.

The UNWTO is responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism around the world. It promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to advance knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. The organisation has 158 member countries, six associate members and more than 500 affiliate members.

The UNWTO Global Summit is designed to encourage new approaches to tourism and its impact on urban destinations. Previously, the event took place in Seoul (2018), Kuala Lumpur (2017), Luxor (2016), Marrakesh (2015), Barcelona (2014), Moscow (2013) and Istanbul (2012).

The AU’s role in brokering Sudan deal offers lessons for the future

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . . .

The Chairman of Sudan’s transitional council, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, speaks during the power sharing agreement ceremony.
Morwan Ali/EPA

Femi Amao, University of Sussex

The African Union (AU) came into existence after a restructuring of its predecessor – the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). It was created to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent.

While the AU has a clear mandate to deepen the process of economic and political integration on the continent, its predecessor was run on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states. This lessened its ability to resolve member states’ internal disputes.

However, the OAU did originate some of the standards that are at the foundation of the AU’s conflict resolution approach. One such standard is contained in the Lome Declaration which criminalises unconstitutional changes of government.

The AU now has a wider legal mandate for internal conflict resolution than its predecessor. This mandate is set out in its Constitutive Act and in its Peace and Security Council Protocol. But, the implementation of this mandate is still a work in progress.

But the AU has in recent days been rightly praised for using its regional laws to broker an agreement between the Sudanese military and the country’s civilian movement. The agreement comes after months of conflict that followed the ouster of Sudan’s despotic ruler Omar al-Bashir.

After al-Bashir was deposed, the military attempted to assume leadership of the country. It attacked protesters who were demanding that authority be transferred to a civilian administration. The attacks led to deaths and injuries.

The agreement, which was brokered with the help of Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime minister, set out key conditions, including the following:

The establishment of a joint military and civilian sovereign council, which will govern the country for three years before elections are held.

Shared leadership of the council. A military leader will lead for 21 months followed by a civilian leader for 18 months.

A bill of rights and freedoms for all Sudanese citizens.

The AU’s involvement has proven the usefulness of its regional laws in resolving internal disputes in member States. So how did it reach this point, and what lessons have been learned from its work in Sudan?

AU intervention

The military takeover that followed al-Bashir’s removal from power amounted to an “unconstitutional change of government” which is prohibited by Article 4 of the AU’s Constitutive Act.

This breach of regional law empowered Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the AU Commission, to denounce the military’s actions.

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Question for this article

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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Following the official denouncement, the AU’s Peace and Security Council adopted a decision stating that the actions of the Sudanese military amounted to an unconstitutional change of government. The Council is central to the AU’s legal framework. It was set up to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. Its April 2019 decision also reiterated the need for a civilian-led and consensual transition and demanded that the military hand over power within 15 days.

Failure to hand over power should have led to the automatic suspension of Sudan from the activities of the AU as provided by the Council’s protocol. However, an extension of three months was subsequently agreed to allow for further negotiations.

In my view, the decision to grant the extension was problematic because it undermined the “automatic” nature of the suspension and allowed the military to continue attacks on civilians without repercussions. Due to lack of progress and escalating violence, the Council eventually suspended Sudan in June.

During the three-month notice period, the AU continued to engage with the key parties in the conflict. This happened even as the military continued attacks on protesters. Finally in July, the AU/Ethiopia mediation team convinced both parties to resume talks. This led to the signing of a constitutional declaration.

In the end, the AU’s mediation was successful. But during the drawn out negotiations over a hundred people were killed and hundreds more injured. This begs the question: what could the AU have done differently?

Lessons learned

While it is laudable that the AU’s intervention in the Sudanese political crisis resulted in an agreement, there are lessons that should be learnt.

The most important lesson is regarding the implementation of the provision for suspension. The 15-day ultimatum that was originally given for the restoration of civilian rule is consistent with previous practice by the AU’s Peace and Security Council.

The threat of imminent suspension could have incentivised the military to act more speedily towards a resolution within a shorter time frame. It could have prevented or reduced the violence that ensued in the following months.

In addition, the AU and its Council need to develop a concrete strategy for dealing with continuing violence in the course of negotiations. The Constitutive Act gives these bodies the power to directly intervene in member states where there is serious threat to legitimate order and a need to restore peace and stability. The means and method of implementation of this power is left to the AU under the law, but could include the deployment of peacekeeping forces.

I would argue that the Sudan crisis warranted direct intervention.

This is not to downplay the crucial role that the AU and the Council played in helping to resolve the Sudan political crisis. Indeed, the role played by the regional body underscores the importance of its legal order and institutions in conflict resolution in Africa.

Its success in this respect will instil confidence among member states. It will also bolster the AU’s image as an effective and efficient organisation on the international stage.The Conversation

Femi Amao, Senior Lecturer, University of Sussex

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Environmental damage is a war crime, scientists say

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Jordan Davidson from Ecowatch

Two dozen prominent scientists from around the world have asked the UN to make environmental damage in conflict zones a war crime. The scientists published their open letter in the journal Nature.


crustmania / CC BY 2.0

The letter, titled “Stop Military Conflicts from Trashing the Environment,” asks the United Nations’ International Law Commission to adopt a Fifth Geneva Convention when it meets later this month. The UN group is scheduled to hold a meeting with the aim of building on the 28 principles it has already drafted to protect the environment and lands sacred to indigenous people, according to The Guardian.

Damage to protected areas during a military skirmish should be considered a war crime on par with violations of human rights, the scientists say. If the UN adopts their suggestions, the principles would include measures to hold governments accountable for the damage done by their militaries, as well as legislation to curb the international arms trade.

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Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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“We call on governments to incorporate explicit safeguards for biodiversity, and to use the commission’s recommendations to finally deliver a Fifth Geneva Convention to uphold environmental protection during such confrontations,” the letter reads.

Currently, the four existing Geneva Conventions and their three additional protocols are globally recognized standards enshrined into international law. It dictates humane treatment for wounded troops in the field, soldiers shipwrecked at sea, prisoners of war, and civilians during armed conflicts. Violating the treaties amounts to a war crime, as Common Dreams reported.

“Despite calls for a fifth convention two decades ago, military conflict continues to destroy megafauna, push species to extinction, and poison water resources,” the letter reads. “The uncontrolled circulation of arms exacerbates the situation, for instance by driving unsustainable hunting of wildlife.”

Sarah M. Durant of the Zoological Society of London and José C. Brito of the University of Porto in Portugal drafted the letter. The 22 other signatories, mostly from Africa and Europe, are affiliated with organizations and institutions in Egypt, France, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Libya, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and the United States.

“The brutal toll of war on the natural world is well documented, destroying the livelihoods of vulnerable communities and driving many species, already under intense pressure, towards extinction,” said Durant, as the The Guardian reported. “We hope governments around the world will enshrine these protections into international law. This would not only help safeguard threatened species, but would also support rural communities, both during and post-conflict, whose livelihoods are long-term casualties of environmental destruction.”

(Thank you to Leo Sandy for sending this article to CPNN.)

Agroecology and peasant agriculture to preserve biodiversity

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from AVSF, Agronomes & Vétérinaires Sans Frontières

On May 6, 2019, in its report on biodiversity, the IPBES [Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services] alerted us about the short-term threat of extinction of nearly 1 million animal and plant species. Agricultural and livestock farming are partly responsible for this disaster, while agroecology and peasant agriculture represent an urgent alternative to preserve biodiversity.

In 2017, we warned of the worrying erosion of agricultural biodiversity: 75% of edible varieties have disappeared in 100 years (FAO). The bulk of human nutrition is based on only 12 plant species and 14 animal species! In the past 10 years, at least one domestic animal breed has disappeared each month (and its genetic characteristics with it), and 20% of the world’s cattle, goats, swine, equine and poultry breeds are at risk of extinction. At cause: the promotion of a productivist agriculture with high capital investment and synthetic inputs, looking for very high yields in the short term. Agroecology under peasant farming conditions is a solution: it relies on agricultural biodiversity, values ​​it while protecting it, and in doing so contributes to the maintenance of biodiversity as a whole.

Agricultural biodiversity is a part of biodiversity that, through agricultural production, contributes to the food of populations as well as the preservation of ecosystems. It is particularly important for maintaining the productivity and resilience of cropping and farming systems in precarious and vulnerable environments. It is this great diversity of plant species and animal breeds adapted to the local environment that guarantees the survival of many peasants from Africa, Asia or Latin America on their farms and pastures, even in difficult climatic conditions and on fragile soils.

In countries of the southern hemisphere, initiatives have multiplied in recent years to upgrade local species and sustainably preserve agricultural biodiversity. These initiatives, often developed at the family farm level, have highlighted the close relationship between food security and biodiversity.

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(Click here for the original French version.)

Question for this article:

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

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Two projects that preserve agricultural biodiversity

In the north of Haiti, small producers are processing quality cocoa, made from old varieties, criollo and trinitario, typical of the Caribbean. Renowned for their finesse and powerful aromas, these beans are mainly intended for high-end chocolate, like the criollo which represents only 5% of world production, and is therefore a sought-after variety. Although chocolatiers are highly demanding, these beans have so far been poorly valued on the world market. Why ? Because these Haitian beans were not fermented, a primordial step that releases the “precursors” of aromas. AVSF has therefore trained producers of FECCANO farmers’ cooperatives in the fermentation techniques of these ancient varieties. Several fermentation, collection and packaging centers were installed for the producers of the 8 cooperatives. A cocoa that is today highly paid on the organic, fair and quality markets in Europe, for the benefit of both producers and biodiversity: grown in the heart of woodland gardens in association with many shade and fruit trees and other crops , cocoa plays an important role not only in food security, but also in maintaining fertility and biodiversity in general.

Throughout West Africa, peasant farming is characterized by the diversity of livestock breeds that it values. These breeds have exceptional adaptive capacities that have earned their durability, as well as resistance to certain parasitic diseases, such as trypanosomiasis, transmitted by tsetse fly and endemic throughout the region. Nowadays, this sustainability is threatened by the disturbing erosion of the diversity of local breeds, increasingly squeezed by introduced breeds for their higher productivity in milk and meat.

In Senegal, AVSF is supporting breeders’ organizations to improve the value of endemic ruminant livestock (the Ndama breed for example) and to demonstrate its competitiveness both in the markets and for the resilience of populations in the face of climatic or economic shocks. This breed is of small size, with good fecundity. Its speed of growth and its satisfactory qualities confer to it undeniable butchery qualities. This valorization is done through the organization of competitions, exhibitions and fairs specific to these species and races.

Through its numerous projects, AVSF has been working with farmers in the South for 40 years to preserve and reclaim agricultural and animal biodiversity and thus ensure their food security and that of the urban populations they feed.

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(Thank you to Kiki Chauvin, the CPNN reporter for this article.)