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Virtually impossible to feed world and protect environment – Coveney

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Virtually impossible to feed world and protect environment – Coveney
See: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/virtually-impossible-to-feed-world-and-protect-environemt-coveney-1.1674123

The world is facing a “virtually impossible challenge” of increasing food production by 50 per cent in two decades while protecting the environment from the consequences of intensive production, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

He pointed out that the world population was increasing by 80 million every year, while 150 million people were joining the middle classes annually. “And that is accelerating rather than flattening out,” he said. “When you look at all those demands and the challenges that are in the way of achieving them, it almost seems impossible.You’re talking about , in less than 20 years, increasing the volume of food we produce to meet current consumption patterns, of 50 per cent.”
He was speaking at a conference organised by IBM to look at how smart technology could help the agri-food sector to compete and win new markets. Mr Coveney said the consequences of intensifying food production could not be ignored as it would eventually destroy the planet.

See: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/virtually-impossible-to-feed-world-and-protect-environemt-coveney-1.1674123

Global Risks

February 5th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Global Risks

See: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Global-risks&id=82703

Global Risks 2014 is an analysis of a survey of over 700 world leaders and top businessmen from the World Economic Forum’s global multi-stakeholder community. From the report, growing “global risks” arise from demographic trends, societal issues, technological developments, environmental concerns, and economic mismanagement.

The demographic trends “flagged” consist of “overpopulation… unmanaged migration flows… and energy crises.” Specifically, the risk cited is “being unable to deal with rapid population growth and the growing burden of an ageing population.” According to the report, “Around 1 billion people, one-third of the world’s urban population, live in slums — a number that has been increasing in the current era of high and widening income inequalities. This growing population of urban poor is vulnerable to rising food prices and economic crises, posing significant risks of chronic social instability.” Further, there are the “costs of living longer” to be considered and, notably, the “risks related to longevity remain significant as medical advances increase life expectancy, posing funding challenges in retirement financing, long-term care and healthcare.”

Societal issues involve “the breakdown of social structures, the decline of trust in institutions, the lack of leadership and persisting gender inequalities.” Particularly highlighted are “ideological polarization, extremism — in particular those of a religious or political nature — and intra-state conflicts such as civil wars.” Also mentioned is “the future of the youth: the quality of and access to education, the marginalization of young generations and high rates of youth unemployment.” Quoting the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment, “About 300 million young people — over 25% of the world’s youth population — have no productive work, according to World Bank estimates. Add low-paid rural and urban self-employed workers, and the estimates rise to 600 million. An unprecedented demographic ‘youth bulge’ is bringing more than 120 million new young people on to the job market each year, mostly in the developing world.”

To read the full article, please click here:  http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Global-risks&id=82703

Indonesia Population Approaching U.S. Revives Birth Control

February 5th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Indonesia Population Approaching U.S. Revives Birth Control
By Shamim Adam, Berni Moestafa and Novrida Manurung January 28, 2014
See: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-01-27/indonesia-facing-populace-larger-than-u-dot-s-dot-revives-birth-control#p1

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wants families to stop at two children to prevent a burgeoning population overwhelming schools and services. Asih, a cleaner in Tangerang, near Jakarta, is stopping at seven.

“In my family, we always had a lot of children, and as long as we still had something to eat, why do family planning?” said Asih, 35. “Now I have two children in primary school and more that will have to go in the next few years and I have no money to pay school fees. Seven kids are enough.”

Facing slower investment and one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the Asia-Pacific region, the government is concerned the demographic dividend that attracts companies seeking a young, cheap workforce will become an economic time bomb. As Indonesia’s growth slows, the world’s fourth-most-populous nation isn’t generating enough quality jobs to keep up with the population, the International Labour Organization said.

That prospect has brought the revival of a birth-control program begun 46 years ago by former President Suharto, who managed to halve the fertility rate to about 2.6, where it’s been stuck ever since. The government wants to cut the rate to the replacement level of 2.1 within two years to prevent the 250 million population doubling by 2060.

“We have to go back to the policies of the Suharto era, to make strong campaigns and bring the fertility rate down,” said M Sairi Hasbullah, head of Indonesia’s statistics bureau for East Java province. “It’s not going to be easy to provide food, education, health facilities and infrastructure for 500 million people. It’s a big danger for Indonesia.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-01-27/indonesia-facing-populace-larger-than-u-dot-s-dot-revives-birth-control#p1

Transformation Doesn’t Happen Over Night

February 5th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Transformation Doesn’t Happen Over Night
See: http://populationaction.org/newsletters/transformation-doesnt-happen-over-night/

How can we best help countries realize their existing commitments to rights and ensure that rights-based approaches are the standard for all countries? These are the questions at the heart of an emerging dialogue in the family planning and reproductive health community. In case you missed it, check out the excellent piece by Shannon Harris of Engender Health and the Futures Group, “Keeping Complexity in a Human Rights-Based Approach to Family Planning: Is It Worth It?

Since the London Summit in 2012, elements of reproductive rights have begun to permeate family planning commitments and implementation plans. Of the 28 developing countries that have FP2020 commitments, 15 made specific references to improving choice, expanding the range of methods, or reproductive rights. This is tremendous given that not too long ago, “reproductive rights” was still a dirty term in some circles. Such gains should not be trivialized.

To read the full article, please click here: http://populationaction.org/newsletters/transformation-doesnt-happen-over-night/

Haiti Radio Soap Opera Raising Awareness About Child Slaves

February 3rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

SHELBURNE, VT – When Christina Guérin was a child, she decided she didn’t want a career in radio soap operas. As a young girl, she spent many days and nights in a Haiti radio studio watching her mother work long hours. In September of 2013, Population Media Center launched a new radio soap opera in Haiti addressing child slavery, reproductive health, and family planning. Now, Guérin once again finds herself in the throes of a radio serial drama, but this time she’s the producer.

“It’s something that I enjoy,” Guérin says laughingly. “I had to admit that. Plus, I realized that my mother was doing everything. We have six people doing what she did.”

It was Guérin’s work in a radio station that brought about the existence of “Zoukoutap” (to limp), PMC’s serial drama in Haitian Creole. In her late 20s, Guérin unexpectedly found herself face-to-face with an important issue: child slavery. In Haiti, young children are sent to work in another household when their family is unable to provide for them. This places young children in the role of servant, with no regard for their education, well-being, or happiness. Guérin says that everyone knows restevek children are part of their society, but not enough people are talking about it.

“I was working at a radio station,” she says, “when a young girl was brought in. We were going to announce her name over the radio to find her family, but she didn’t want to. She was a restavek and didn’t want to return to her life. It was a real surprise to me. I knew this existed, but I didn’t know it was so close to my everyday life.”

Guérin helped get that young girl to a shelter, just one of roughly 300,000 children caught up in the restavek system. Guérin realized that she wanted to help address this issue – the question was how.

“I realized that if I want to help, it doesn’t have to be opening a home or protesting – everyone can help in their own way. ‘Zoukoutap’ was the best way I could help.”

But it would be another six years before “Zoukoutap” would come to fruition. Guérin had the idea of creating a radio soap opera that addressed child slavery, and when she reached out to the Restavek Freedom Foundation she received a warm welcome from Executive Director Joan Conn. They even wrote a few episodes, but Guérin says that then they got stuck.

“At a certain point, we didn’t know what to do or what to say,” says Guérin. “This is an important, complicated issue and you have to think about how to present it.”

In 2011, Guérin and Conn met with Bill Ryerson, President of Population Media Center, to discuss the idea. Population Media Center creates radio soap operas for social change all over the world.

“This was an opportunity to address crucial topics in a country where we had never broadcast,” says Ryerson. The project began the following year and “Zoukoutap” hit the airwaves in September of 2013.

“The training and structure provided was so important, as well as all of the research,” says Guérin about working within Population Media Center’s methodology. “In addition to restaveks, we also address reproductive health and family planning, which is part of solving the problem. [Having] too many children is often why people must send some of their children away.”

Guérin has also been blown away by the public support, including the media. “Zoukoutap” is broadcast over two main radio stations in the north and south provinces, plus three radio stations in Port-au-Prince. “Zoukoutap” is also broadcast on Radio Mega in Miami, Florida and is available to listen to online at: www.soundcloud.com/zoukoutapofficiel.

Most importantly, Guérin sees positive responses to the program. She explains that the entire production, writing, and acting team feel invested in the message, with some people agreeing to do interviews and other publicity events about the issues themselves on their own time – evidence of the staff’s commitment and of the impact of the program in starting conversations.

“Some of the scenes can be very difficult to listen to. You can imagine what sounds we have to include when our child actress is in violent situations in order to have that be understood. And we have an incredible child actress, which makes it much more real and much harder to hear. And these things are happening in real life, which is why we need to address these issues.”

So Guérin finds herself back in the world of radio soap operas, but with a different role and a different perspective than from when she was a child. This time, she’s hoping to spend more, not less, time in the studio.

“We need more permanent messages and programs about restavek children and family planning,” she says. “We need more people to discuss these issues and we need society to stop closing their eyes to it. I hope to continue to help.”
Tune-in to Zoukoutap online: www.soundcloud.com/zoukoutapofficiel

Follow Zoukoutap on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Zoukoutap-Paj-Ofisyel/1422754664618219


Population Media Center is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world.

Madhya Pradesh tribal women have no idea of contraceptive use

January 27th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Madhya Pradesh tribal women have no idea of contraceptive use
See: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2014-01-24/bhopal/46562119_1_tribal-women-iud-contraceptive-use

BHOPAL: Half of the tribal women population in Madhya Pradesh is clueless about the modern day family planning methods, despite the tall claims of state government which sets targets for family planning operations every year and pats itself for achieving them.

A study conducted by a research scholar Vandana Tamrakar from Jawaharlal Nehru University, revealed that tribal women in Madhya Pradesh have no idea about the usage of a contraceptive.

The study said that the knowledge of contraceptive use in Madhya Pradesh among tribal women is only 49%. The knowledge of pills, Intra Uterine Device (IUD), condoms are also low among tribal regions when compared to other states. It points out that only 41% women are aware of male condoms, just 29% know about IUD (intra uterine device), and only a menial 14% know about Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECP).

“The reason for the low awareness could be attributed to low literacy rate and lack of exposure,” explained Tamrakar. Results also showed that middle-aged, higher educated women are likely to use the modern method of contraception as compared to the younger women (15-24). Overall, the knowledge of modern temporary methods is considerably lower to permanent methods.

Use of contraceptive method among currently married tribal woman was relatively lower than the non-tribal women. 44-53% of tribal women use contraceptive method while 50-62% of non-tribal women use modern methods.

To read the full article, please click here: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2014-01-24/bhopal/46562119_1_tribal-women-iud-contraceptive-use

Getting your family planning method right key to wellbeing

January 27th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Getting your family planning method right key to wellbeing
See: http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/DN2/Getting-your-family-planning-method-right-key-to-wellbeing/-/957860/2153642/-/38q7lrz/-/index.html

Jael Atieno Lieta, 28, first heard of family planning from a friend who advised her to go for it immediately after she had her first child, now aged 12.

“I went to a doctor who was offering the services for free in Kisumu and, without any knowledge or counselling, got an implant, which was supposed to last for five years,” she recalls.

“I decided on the implant because I wanted something that would last, but the side-effects were so bad that after two years, I had it removed. I lost too much weight,” she says.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/DN2/Getting-your-family-planning-method-right-key-to-wellbeing/-/957860/2153642/-/38q7lrz/-/index.html

Water Shortages Slow Energy Production Worldwide

January 27th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Water Shortages Slow Energy Production Worldwide
See: http://www.menafn.com/56df5e78-f64f-41b4-b0dd-b5906facc0d6/Water-Shortages-Slow-Energy-Production-Worldwide

Abu Dhabi, Jan 21, 2014 (Menafn – ACN Newswire via COMTEX) –The World Bank is launching a new initiative at the World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi that will help developing countries better plan and manage scaling-up energy capacity to meet rising demand, in tandem with water resource management.

Producing energy requires a lot of water. Yet, the availability of and access to water is negatively impacting energy production around the world.

Last year alone, water shortages shut down thermal power plants in India, decreased energy production in power plants in the United States and threatened hydropower generation in many countries, including Sri Lanka, China and Brazil.

The problem is expected only to get worse. By 2035, the world’s energy consumption will increase by 35 percent, which in turn will increase water consumption by 85 percent, according to the International Energy Agency.

“The world’s energy and water are inextricably linked. With demand rising for both resources and increasing challenges from climate change, water scarcity can threaten the long-term viability of energy projects and hinder development,” said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change.

Part of the challenge for the energy sector is the competing demand for water. This demand will grow as the world’s population reaches 9 billion, requiring a 50 percent increase in agricultural production and a 15 percent increase in already-strained water withdrawals. With two-thirds of the world’s population – or 5 billion people – urbanized by 2030, cities in developing countries will be under tremendous pressure to meet the demand for food, energy, and water services. Yet today, some 780 million people lack access to improved water and 2.5 billion, more than one-third of the world’s people, do not have basic sanitation.

Please click here to read the full story: http://www.menafn.com/56df5e78-f64f-41b4-b0dd-b5906facc0d6/Water-Shortages-Slow-Energy-Production-Worldwide

Is California’s drought a new normal? Here’s what Sacramento should do.

January 27th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Is California’s drought a new normal? Here’s what Sacramento should do.
See: http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/is-california-39-s-drought-a-new/content?oid=12579754

Sacramento is not prepared for this latest drought.

We live in a fragile, beautiful place where two rivers converge, and are extremely fortunate compared to other parts of the state because, in most years, we have enough water.

Now, we face a difficult future. Not only have we just completed the driest year on record, we’ve also been growing in population and dealing with the concomitant increase in demand for water. The Folsom Reservoir is at a historic low; its operators have begun reducing its output to forestall the point at which some of the intake pipes for upstream cities will begin to pull in air instead of water.

At the same time, we’ve been offered a vision of what our communities could look like without water. Across the country in West Virginia, a toxic leak left more than 300,000 people without access to water usable for anything but flushing down sewer pipes. Emergency drinking-water supplies helped, sure, but the economic consequences were devastating. Businesses and schools couldn’t function. Hospitals were in dire straits.

Water isn’t a luxury.

Our current situation must be taken seriously. Without foresight on the part of our government agencies-and plenty of assistance from the public-what is now an inconvenience could easily become a catastrophe.

To read the full editorial, please click here: http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/is-california-39-s-drought-a-new/content?oid=12579754

Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing Consumption with Sustainable Supply

January 27th, 2014 | Add a Comment

The United Nations Environment Programme has just released a report titled Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing Consumption with Sustainable Supply (5MB PDF) which provides a comprehensive overview of the scientific options for sustainable land management. Its worth downloading and scanning over. Achim Steiner, the UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, had this to say:

“[The report] points to an alarming reality. We are rapidly expanding global cropland at the expense of our savannahs, grasslands and forests, and the expected rise of demand for food, fibre and fuel will only increase the pressure on our land resource base. If current conditions continue, by 2050, we could have between 320 and 849 million hectares of natural land converted to cropland. To put things into perspective, the higher range of this estimate would cover an extension of land nearly the size of Brazil. There is no way such an amount can be compensated by increasing yields alone. While productivity levels have experienced an impressive increase over the past 50 years, yield gains have started to stagnate in some regions. At the same time, land degradation continues to expand, affecting today an estimated 23% of global soils and in its severe form leads to the abandonment and shift of 2 to 5 million hectares of cropland a year.”

The report notes that implementing “Family planning programmes to slow down population growth” as part of resource management policy options at the country level is “relevant” (pp. 16 of the report). It also notes near the end of its 5th chapter (pp. 70) that “An effective policy to control human fertility and thus growth of the world population may have a more pronounced impact on future food security than efforts to enhance crop yields.” The report also has a good section reviewing available evidence “showing that yield increases are slowing, whereas population is still growing and has more resource intensive dietary demands. Thus, more land is needed for food and feed. At the same time, agriculture is loosing fertile soil to expanding cities and infrastructures.”