Archive for ‘Asia’

01/10/2014

Europe Must Help Combat Hunger, Malnutrition — Failure Will Only Boost Migration, Stoke Conflicts

Human Wrongs Watch

European governments must help combat hunger and malnutrition on a global level, as failure to do so will only boost migration flows and stoke conflicts, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

The faces behind the numbers | Source: FAO

The faces behind the numbers | Source: FAO

“Food insecurity and conflict go hand in hand” he said, noting that extreme climatic events, troubles in Africa and the Near East and now the Ebola outbreak in West Africa tend to spill over national borders and into other regions in a globalized world, often through forced migration.*

30/09/2014

‘Devastating’ Effects from Ongoing Destruction of Mangrove Forests

Human Wrongs Watch

The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations on 29 September 2014 revealed, adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives.

Mangroves are cut down in Hera, Timor-Leste, 16 km from capital Dili, where frequent trash dumping threatens the area’s natural plant and wildlife. UN Photo/Martine Perret

In a new report launched today at the 16th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, held in Athens, Greece, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that the deforestation of the planet’s mangroves was exceeding average global forest loss by a rate of three to five times, resulting in economic damages of up to $42 billion annually and exposing ecosystems and coastal habitats to an increased risk of devastation from climate change.*

30/09/2014

The Environment: Very Holistic, Very Dialectic

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*, 29 Sep 2014 – TRANSCEND Media Service – “Trees won’t save the planet” is the title of an article in INYT (21-22 Sep 2014) by Nadine Unger, professor of atmospheric chemistry at Yale University. Her thesis: The conventional wisdom–that planting trees serves carbon capture–is wrong; it is all much more complex.

**The General Sherman Tree is thought to be the world's largest tree by volume. | Source: Sherman Tree | Author: Jim Bahn | Wikimedia Commons.

**The General Sherman Tree is thought to be the world’s largest tree by volume. | Source: Sherman Tree | Author: Jim Bahn | Wikimedia Commons.

Photosynthesis is only one factor. Another factor for global warming is how much of the solar energy is absorbed by the earth’s surface and how much is reflected. Trees, being dark, absorb; the net balance may be chilling in the tropics and warming elsewhere.

But there is more to it. Trees emit VOCs, “volatile organic compounds”, for their own protection. Mixing with pollution from cars and industry “an even more harmful cocktail of airborne toxic chemicals is created”, producing methane and ozone. Research at Yale seems to indicate that this affects global climate on a scale similar to surface color and carbon storage capacity.”

Trees and soil also breathe oxygen and release CO2. The Amazon forest produces oxygen during the day and reabsorbs at night; a closed system. Moreover, eventually trees die or burn and “the carbons finds its way back into the atmosphere”.

29/09/2014

Less Chemicls, More Agro-ecology, Climate-smart Agriculture, Bio-technology and GMO to Feed Nine Billion People

Human Wrongs Watch

Rome — In order to move towards more sustainable agriculture, a broader approach is needed to overhaul the world’s food system, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 29 September 2014  said, as he pressed for a global reduction in the quantity of chemicals and water in contemporary agriculture.

Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann | Source: FAO

Speaking at the opening of the 24th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) in Rome, Director-General José Graziano da Silva called for a “paradigm shift” in global attitudes on agriculture, adding that only by decreasing the amounts of “inputs,” such as water and chemicals, could the sector move towards a more sustainable and productive long-term path.

“We cannot rely on an input-intensive model to increase production,” Graziano da Silva declared. “The solutions of the past have shown their limits.”

Pointing to options such as agro-ecology, climate-smart agriculture, biotechnology and the use of genetically modified organisms, the Director-General emphasized that global food production would need to grow by 60 per cent by 2050 in order to meet the expected demand from an anticipated world population of nine billion.

29/09/2014

“It’s the Devil’s Excrement” – Where Fossil Fuels Lurk, Corruption Creeps

Human Wrongs Watch

By Marina Lou* – 29 September, 2014, Greenpeace – When it comes to resource extraction and the political process — the issue is a global one. Have a look at some of the recent coal-ruption stories that have been breaking all around the world.

Photo: Greenpeace

Photo: Greenpeace

Australia

In the state of New South Wales, an independent corruption inquiry has revealed questionable dealings between the founder of the Australian coal mining giant Whitehaven Coal, the owner of the Maules Creek mine and the state government.

The sheer volume of political figures involved in a trail of political donations resulted in Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, publishing its own infographic.

The federal senator for the Greens Party in Australia has called for a national commission against corruption, citing as a case study that the approval process for Whitehaven Mine at Maules Creek was corrupt from the beginning.

29/09/2014

A Permanent Memorial to Slave Trade at UN Called ‘The Ark of Return’

Human Wrongs Watch

General view of the Island of Gorée, Senegal, which was from the 15th to the 19th century, the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast. Photo: UNESCO/Dominique Roger

On 26 September 2014, at a high level ceremony on the margins of the UN General Assembly, the representatives of six nations – The Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Senegal, Jamaica and Spain – marked the financing of The Ark of Return, the new memorial which is expected to be unveiled on the grounds of the UN’s Headquarters in New York in the beginning of 2015.

28/09/2014

517 Million International Tourists in Only Six Months

Human Wrongs Watch

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.6% in the first half of 2014 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Destinations worldwide received some 517 million international tourists between January and June 2014, 22 million more than in the same period of 2013, the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) reported ahead of the celebration of the World Tourism Day on 27 September 2014.

Source: WTO

Source: WTO

Growth was strongest in the Americas (+6%) followed by Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both at +5%). By subregion, South Asia and Northern Europe (both +8%) were the best performers, together with North-East Asia and Southern Mediterranean Europe (both +7%).*

27/09/2014

‘Zero Hunger Is Not Just a Dream’

Human Wrongs Watch

Rome/New York — Global peace and sustainable development cannot be achieved without ending hunger, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva on 25 September 2014, told participants at a high-level UN meeting in New York.

Food being prepared on plates for lunch in Nhan My, Viet Nam | Photo from FAO

Food being prepared on plates for lunch in Nhan My, Viet Nam | Photo from FAO

“Food security might not always be our first concern, but it should be,” said the FAO chief highlighting the link between hunger and conflicts.*

He was speaking at “Delivering Zero Hunger – Demonstrating Impact” a UN General Assembly side event, co-hosted by the governments of the Netherlands, Ireland and Mexico, FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

“While world hunger figures have declined, there are still 805 million people who are chronically undernourished,” Graziano da Silva said, citing figures from the recently released UN State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) report.

 

 

27/09/2014

‘The Damage Caused by Past Nuclear Testing Cannot Be Reversed’

While the damage caused by past nuclear testing cannot be reversed, the international community can work toward a better future where nuclear testing and proliferation are banned outright, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 26 September 2014 said.
An atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1 November 1952. Photo: US Government | Reproduced from UN News Centre

An atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1 November 1952. Photo: US Government | Re-posted from UN News Centre.

In remarks delivered to the Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Ban pressed all those countries that have yet to ratify the treaty to do so as it would protect the world from the harmful effects of fallout and the possibility of nuclear warfare.

“This treaty bans all nuclear tests, constrains the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons, and contributes to progress on nuclear disarmament,” Ban told the delegates, adding that it would also help protect the environment against the “harmful radioactive by-products of nuclear tests.”

26/09/2014

If We Had to Pay the Bill to Nature, What Would Food Waste Cost Us?

Human Wrongs Watch

The full economic, environmental and social costs of food waste amount to approximately 2.6 trillion US dollars annually, according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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Each year, 30 percent of global food production is lost after harvest or wasted in shops, households and catering services. This represents 750 billion USD in terms of producer or farm gate prices, going up to almost a trillion US dollars of trade value of food every year – half the GDP of Italy! *

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