BBC journalist Paul Mason’s “Our World,” shown on the 26th August 2011, relies once more on professionalized solutions to offer hope to those living in Manila, the capital of the Philippines – and the most densely populated city on earth. But they’re not a viable solution for the 900 million people living in informal settlements and other forms of inadequate accommodation such as crowded inner city dwellings.
Assessing projects to reduce deforestation and forest degradation is not just about measuring how much carbon they have sequestered or enhanced. It is equally about asking what such projects have done to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.
“For developing countries in general and least developed countries in particular, we can't afford to support big delegations”, said Sumaya Zakieldeen from Sudan’s national climate change negotiation team. “The coming period of negotiation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is going to be extremely ...important as it is going to shape the fate of climate change and accordingly the fate of the most vulnerable to adverse impacts... It will be exceptionally important to be there to play our assigned roles on behalf of our people and finish what we started.”
Mozambique is a country plagued with a history of floods and poverty. Lying on the south east coast of Africa, its coastline spans over 2700km with its lowest point level to the Indian Ocean. So it needs to be prepared for sea-level rises caused by climate change.
Land is cheap and is perceived to be abundant in Africa. A scramble for its land, following the food and fuel crisis three years ago, is on. European and North American companies have been acquiring land to grow export and biofuel crops and to supply their need for pulp and paper. Now they’re being joined by newly emerging economies – in particular Brazil, India and China – which are also increasingly acquiring large tracts of land and searching for other natural resources, in particular water and minerals.
My being at IIED is rather fortuitous. I completely missed the first advertisement to apply for this position when it went round on the college mailing list, but luckily I was saved when the deadline for applications was pushed back a week to accommodate late applicants. I was one of those late applicants. In the space of a few short weeks I was notified that I had been shortlisted and that I was invited to interview for the Richard Sandbrook Scholarship. I was just thrilled to have been offered an interview so you can imagine my joy when I was told hours later that I had been selected for the position.
It is with great sadness that I heard of the death of Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai aged 71. She has been a great champion of why environment matters for people across the planet, and especially for women and poor groups in Africa. Like a tall spreading tree, perhaps an Acacia, her influence and courage have provided nourishment and shelter for a wide range of activities in Kenya and beyond.