By Ashok Kumar | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BANGKOK (IDN) – Asia-Pacific region has bumpy roads to traverse before it achieves ‘zero hunger’ and ‘zero poverty’. But it is gearing up for 'food security for all' backed by 'concerted efforts' to achieve Zero Hunger by 2025 when global population is estimated to surpass the 8 billion mark.
The 'Zero Hunger Challenge' – highlighting that hunger can be eliminated in our lifetimes – was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June 2002 at Rio to commemorate and review the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in June 1992.
By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) - “O arise all you sons of this land, Let us sing of our joy to be free, Praising God and rejoicing to be Papua New Guinea.” This is the first verse of the song that was promoted to national anthem, when the country in Oceania became independent of Australia in September 1975. Much of the spirit it embodies, seems to have vanished little by little.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has fallen prey to one of the rapidest and largest land grabs in recent history, coordinated by dozens of foreign corporations, from Malaysia, China, Australia, and USA, among other countries. They have appropriated nearly a third of the country, devastating the world's third-largest rainforest and taking away land and heritage from its inhabitants, according to an investigative report and a film, ‘On Our Land’, released by the Oakland Institute and the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).
By Jaya Ramachandran & Anna Rutkowski
BERLIN | WARSAW (IDN) - Coal currently provides 40 percent of the world’s electricity and has been the fastest-growing global energy source since the year 2000, reports the International Energy Agency (IEA). Its most recent World Energy Outlook finds that while renewables and natural gas generation will grow rapidly, coal is still projected to be the dominant source of electricity through 2035.
As the UN climate change conference COP 19 entered second week on November 18, Greenpeace unfurled a banner on the front of Poland’s Ministry of Economy, protesting against the World Coal Association’s International Coal and Climate Summit taking place inside. The banner read: “Who Rules Poland? Coal Industry or the People?”
By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WARSAW (IDN) – They are not in the limelight. But experts are drawing attention to the human health dimension of climate change at the global climate change talks in Poland’s capital Warsaw scheduled to conclude on November 22.
Dr Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum of the World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered “five health messages” for COP 19, the 19th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A scientist and team leader in WHO’s Climate Change and Health Unit, Dr Campbell-Lendrum says:
By Ramesh Jaura* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN | NAGASAKI (IDN) – More than 50,000 nuclear weapons have been eliminated since the historic Reykjavík Summit between the then U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his counterpart from the erstwhile Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, which culminated into a groundbreaking Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in December 1987. But 17,300 nukes remain, threatening many times over the very survival of human civilization and most life on earth, as the 2013 Nagasaki Appeal points out.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) estimates that nine countries possess nuclear weapons: United States (7,700 warheads), Russia (8,500), Britain (225), France (300), China (250), Israel (80), India (between 90 and 110), Pakistan (between 100 and 120) and North Korea (10).
By Bruce H. Rubin* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
LANSDALE, Pennsylvania (IDN) - In today’s world of growing populations and food needs, we are revisiting, with respect to agriculture, the old adage "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." However, too often in the developing world, we are letting the newly-educated man down by not providing him with infrastructure needed to save, sell, or transport what he grows.
India, Africa, Latin America and other developing regions continue to face crippling hunger and poverty rates. Despite the consistent production of agricultural products, the post-harvest loss rate for fruits and vegetables hovers around 40% and has remained there for years, undermining the ability of local farmers to feed their countrymen and develop exports. The total spoilage of post-harvest loss hovers around 1.3 billion tons.
By Hélène Connor-Lajambe* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
PARIS - The United Nations and other world agencies are geographically global in scope, but seldom seem able to work together on the same issue, however crucial it is, even when deep misery or armed conflicts ensue.
Climate change is the best example of the silo mentality within our highest institutions and most of our societies. It is only lately, for instance, that the World Bank has started to reconsider its funding of coal plants, and the International Energy Agency is at last making waves as it promotes energy efficiency while other agencies are still pushing the search for more oil reserves.
By Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
BERLIN (IDN | ICAN) - In addition to the nine nuclear-armed states, there are five NATO states with nuclear weapons on their soil. 24 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey still host forward-deployed US B-61 thermonuclear gravity bombs.
They offer zero military value – in fact, the fighter jets that are responsible for carrying and dropping these bombs, should such an order be given, are barely able to leave EU territory without refueling. Most NATO-states are opposed to nuclear sharing, a dangerous relic of the cold war.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN | TEHRAN (IDN) - France is concerned about its declining influence in the Middle East and fears economic competition from the U.S., Britain and Germany if relations between Tehran and the West are normalized for the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution. This, according to a senior Iranian analyst, is the reason French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius appeared to adopt a tough stance in Iran’s talks with the P5+1 – the UN Security Council’s permanent members, the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China along with Germany – on November 9-10 in Geneva.
By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
GENEVA (IDN) - Negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have been proceeding at full speed in recent months, giving rise to a lot of interest worldwide. The stated goal is to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2013. However there is only a slim prospect for this, as there are still many contentious issues to resolve.
By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - Europe is the world’s richest region. Together 28 countries constituting the European Union (EU) are the world’s largest market. EU and its member states provide 56% of about $130 billion global official development assistance. Precisely this obliges Europe not to stay bogged down in ongoing financial and identity crises but accept its international responsibilities wholeheartedly.
This was the upshot of a landmark speech by the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on November 9, the very day the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, 28 years after it was erected to reinforce post-war division of Germany and Europe. The day was “perhaps the most important tipping point, not just for Germany but in our recent European history,” he said.