Local Actions Lead The Global Efforts To Address Climate Change

The skyline of central Seoul is seen during a foggy day in Seoul

The skyline of central Seoul is seen during a foggy day in Seoul March 4, 2015. South Korea’s central bank cut interest rates for the first time in five months on Thursday in a surprise move, joining the ranks of other economies which have recently taken advantage of lower inflation to ease monetary policy to spur sluggish growth. The picture was taken on March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji (SOUTH KOREA – Tags: ENVIRONMENT CITYSCAPE BUSINESS)


Date: 06/27/2017 03:38 pm ET


Climate change is happening at home and around the world. Seoul is doing its part by embracing clean energy and climate solutions and engaging its citizens in climate actions. When it comes to fighting climate change, cities and local leaders are best positioned to lead that charge. Local leaders from coastal to landlocked communities are working to combat the rising impacts of a changing climate through transitioning themselves to low-carbon economies by reducing local greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing resilience. But in order to achieve these goals, accountability is the key. We must have the tools to track our progress transparently in order to turn climate actions into collective and measurable results.

This month the inaugural Board meeting of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, a coalition of over 7,400 cities spanning more than 120 countries, will be held in Brussels. As the Board members, mayors who are working together to respond to climate change with similar dreams will meet to share their thoughts and ideas. The Global Covenant of Mayors will provide a platform for cities to commit to, track and monitor progress on climate action. And the best part, it’s totally transparent with all the data made publicly available.

 

As part of our commitment to the Global Covenant of Mayors, Seoul is leading climate actions by lowering the greenhouse gas emissions and finding local solutions to make a sustainable future.

 

From city hall to the world stage, Seoul is leading the combat against climate change.

The city of Seoul decided that the fundamental way to address climate change is to save energy, and that’s why we have initiated ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant’ in 2012. In June 2014, 6 months ahead of schedule, Seoul fulfilled its goal and reduced its energy consumption by 2 million TOE. This amount is equivalent to that of electricity produced by average one nuclear power plant in Korea, and it is as effective as reducing 4.5 million tons of CO2. Now, we are in the second phase of One Less Nuclear Power Plant project with an aim of 4 million TOE energy savings by 2020. 

 

The Paris Agreement, which entered into full force last year, signified a broad commitment from global leaders to join local communities and cities together in tackling the effects of changing climate. But after the agreement, actions should come, and those actions are happening from the ground up in Seoul and in cities around the world led by other mayors.

 

As we look towards the next major global climate meetings in 2018, the actions taken at the city-level can have major impacts on a global scale. Transforming public transportation into green vehicles, requiring green building certificates in new constructions, and creating 860km of bike-only lanes across the whole city are supporting initiatives that make a resilient community and strong economy, and eventually actively contributing to making Seoul a green city.

 

Great work is being done around the world, but it is clear that the need for city climate diplomacy is greater now than ever before. It is very encouraging to see the local initiatives and best practices being implemented and shared by cities in every corner of our globe. But while cities have made great strides, there’s more that we can do. More Mayors must take immediate actions to continue to advance our global progress. That’s as the mayor of Seoul I am calling on fellow local leaders to commit to the Global Covenant of Mayors to join thousands of communities leading the fight against climate change.

 

Every local leader can be an agent of change. Every citizen has a voice that can rally our leaders together to join a global cause.

 

Local leaders deserve a seat at the global table when it comes to the future of our communities and our planet. For that reason, I am asking all local leaders, wherever they may be, commit to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. The Global Covenant is the best way to demonstrate the power and strength of local impact as we turn the agreement into actions and actions into results.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by The Huffington Post and retrieved on 06/27/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

 

 

SYMPOSIUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH IN ASIA-PACIFIC

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Organiser(s): RMIT, Manchester Metropolitan University, HAW Hamburg

RMIT 124 La Trobe St. Melbourne


The Symposium at RMIT University is designed to foster and facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of research projects.

RMIT's Swanston Academic Building
RMIT’s Swanston Academic Building. Photo: John Collings

RMIT University will host the “Symposium on Sustainable Development Research in Asia Pacific”, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, HAW Hamburg, under the auspices of the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme (IUSDRP).

The aim of the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme, established at the World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities 2014 in Manchester is to provide a platform, on which member universities may undertake research on matters related to sustainable development and to assemble interdisciplinary, cross-Faculty teams among its member universities, focusing on sustainable development, with a keen interest to engage on bidding for national and international sustainability research projects.

Register to attend

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Logos of symposium partners

Getting there

Walk to the intersection of Victoria and Swanston Streets.

Trams running along Swanston Street include routes 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 and 72, from which you can connect to the train at Melbourne Central or Flinders Street.

Visit the Public Transport Victoria website for more information and connecting services in your area.

No on-campus parking is available for visitors, but you’ll find many commercial car parks a short walk away. Metered street parking is also available nearby, but note the time limits and clearway restrictions.

Venue

Address Storey Hall, RMIT City campus (Building 16) 336–348 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria

Located on Swanston Street, near the corner of La Trobe Street.

Catch a City Loop train to nearby Melbourne Central train station or to Flinders Street. From Flinders Street, you can take a connecting City Loop train or Yarra Tram along Swanston Street.

Trams running along Swanston Street include routes 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 and 72. Tram routes 24, 30 and 35 run along La Trobe Street.

Visit the Public Transport Victoria website for more information and connecting services in your area. No on-campus parking is available for visitors, but you’ll find many commercial car parks a short walk away. Metered street parking is also available nearby, but note the time limits and clearway restrictions.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the RMIT University and retrieved on 06/23/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

 

New planters promote environmentally-friendly farming in Pakistan

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Direct seeding of rice with a multicrop direct-seeded rice planter in Sheikhupura, Punjab. Photo: Abdul Khaliq


ByJune 23, 2017


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIMMYT and retrieved on 06/23/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

 

Fighting Hidden Hunger in Tanzania: Provitamin A Maize Platform is Launched

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PVA Maize. Photo James Gethi (CIMMYT)


By Joyce Maru – Capacity Development & Communication Specialist (BNFB project – CIP)


In Tanzania, Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is considered a major public health problem requiring appropriate nutrition interventions. The overall magnitude of VAD in Tanzania is 33 percent (Global Nutrition Report; 2014), affecting mostly children in preschool and women of reproductive age.  VAD causes morbidity, nutritional blindness, and even death. Even mild levels of VAD may damage health leading to low school performance in children and poor productivity for adults.
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A farmer prepares maize porridge using Provitamin A maize. Photo: R.Lunduka/CIMMYT

Provitamin A Maize (PVA) maize is a special type of maize that is biofortified and contains high levels of beta-carotene. Beta-Carotene is an organic, strongly-colored red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. Beta-carotene is what gives PVA maize an orange color and is converted to Vitamin A in the body after consumption to provide additional nutritional benefits.   As a staple food, maize is produced and consumed by most people in Tanzania, and can, therefore, be a cheap and sustainable source of Vitamin A especially for the vulnerable rural poor populations.  To address micronutrient malnutrition (hidden hunger); biofortification works to increase the nutritional value of staple food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding; agronomic practices or biotechnology. Examples of these vitamins and minerals that can be increased through biofortification include Provitamin A Carotenoids, zinc, and iron.

The PVA maize was recently introduced to Tanzania through collaborative efforts of multiple institutions including the Government of Tanzania, Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI); Seed companies (Meru Agro-Tours & Consultants Co. Ltd (MATC) and Tanseed International Ltd) and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), working as a partnership under the Building Nutritious Food Baskets Project (BNFB). Two Provitamin A maize varieties – Meru VAH517 and Meru VAH519 –were released for commercial production by Meru Agro Tours and Consultants in September 2016.

To catalyze efforts to scale up PVA maize, different actors along the maize value chain launched a PVA maize platform for Tanzania.  The event took place at the Kibo Palace Hotel, Arusha Tanzania on 19 April 2017  international hosted by the BNFB project.

Participants celebrate launch of PVA Maize Platform

Participants included Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC); TOSCI; Seed companies; processors; farmer groups representatives; researchers, policy makers and CIMMYT.

Speaking on behalf of TFNC Dr. Towo Elifatio remarked that in order to effectively and sustainably fight hidden hunger, a platform that brings together key stakeholders is critical and strategic to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and exchange of ideas, innovations, and solutions on production, supply, and utilization of PVA maize. Elifatio noted that all actors along the PVA maize value chain need to be involved in advocating and promoting production and utilization of new technologies such as the PVA maize.

The PVA maize platform will advance the agenda of fighting hidden hunger in Tanzania by linking different stakeholders to relevant authorities on matters relating to PVA maize; as well as provide an opportunity for capacity development for members on critical gaps relating to PVA maize knowledge and biofortification in general. In other words, the platform will become a ‘One stop shop’ for information and knowledge on PVA maize in Tanzania.

Membership of the platform is expected to grow to become multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary to include actors from the ministry of health, nutrition and education, school feeding programs, academic institutions, national agricultural research systems (NARS) among others. The platform will be led and sustained by the national partners who understand the bottlenecks in the sector and can better drive their own agenInternational

The Potato Center (CIP) is collaborating with a consortium of CGIAR research centers; Governments of Nigeria and Tanzania and national partners on an initiative called BNFB, which is testing a scaling-up model through a multi-crop (food basket) approach to address hidden hunger by catalyzing sustainable investments for the production and utilization of biofortified crops that are ready for scaling up including; Orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP); vitamin A (yellow) cassava, vitamin A (orange) maize and high iron/zinc beans. The project mainly targets rural populations, especially young children under the age of five and women of reproductive age, in Nigeria and Tanzania.


Read more on BNFB: BNFB  Click here to watch video on BNFB



Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the International Potato Center and retrieved on 06/20/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

Sustainable agriculture for healthy forests

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Farmers are beginning to transform agriculture in Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula through techniques that allow them to grow more on less land, reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Above, slash and burn agriculture (right) compared to a non-burn strategy in a milpa system. Photo: J. Van Loon/CIMMYT


June 5, 2017

TEXCOCO, Mexico (CIMMYT) –  Farmers in Mexico’s ecologically-fragile Yucatán Peninsula are beginning to adopt innovative practices to manage traditional mixed-cropping systems called “milpas” that can slow or even stop deforestation and soil degradation.

Agriculture is the second-largest emitter of global greenhouse gas emissions and largest driver of deforestation, making the sector one of the top contributors to climate change and biodiversity loss.

Fifteen percent of global emissions is due mostly to agricultural expansion into tropical forests. Rising populations and changes in dietary preferences for more energy intense foods, like beef and soybean, are expected to boost agricultural emissions a further 15 percent by 2030.

Agricultural expansion and resulting deforestation of tropical areas also threaten more than half of all the world’s plant and animal species, contributing significantly to what many scientists say is Earth’s sixth mass extinction.

“Sustainable agriculture can bring large benefits to tropical areas by optimizing land use while improving farm management and techniques for farmers,” said Jelle Van Loon, a mechanization expert at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) who is working with farming communities in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula – an area compromising much of the largest remaining tropical rainforest in the Americas after the Amazon.

Nearly 80 percent of vegetation has been deforested or degraded in the peninsula, with more than 80,000 hectares being cut down annually.

“Agriculture in the Yucatán Peninsula is extremely diverse – there’s everything from industrial farms that operate around forest areas to small community farmers practicing the traditional milpa system in the interior,” said Van Loon.

Milpa farming – a traditional mixed cropping system in which maize, beans, and squash are grown – contributes to about 16 percent of deforestation in the region, and is typically practiced by subsistence farmers through slash and burn agriculture.

Milpa systems vary across communities in the region,” said Van Loon. “Sometimes plots are burned, farmed and left within two to three years for a new plot, and others are more permanent.”

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A technician learns how to operate a two-wheeled tractor. Technicians working with CIMMYT will perform field trials evaluating the efficiency of equipment like this in their work areas. Photo: J. Van Loon/CIMMYT

Van Loon is working with a team of CIMMYT scientists and other partners in the region to see how farmers can apply sustainable technologies and practices across the peninsula’s milpa systems, as well as large-scale mechanized farms that operate in the area.
“It’s extremely important that the unique circumstances of each community are taken into account when new technologies are being promoted,” said Van Loon, citing that many programs exist to support local communities, but is often challenging to organize support in an integrated fashion that’s adjusted to local conditions.

Milpa provides more than crops for food – the slash and burn system also provides game and timber for these communities, so there are many factors that need to be taken into account when we try and promote sustainable practices.”

Two years ago CIMMYT successfully trialed a sustainable agriculture initiative with farmers in Hopelchén, a small community in Campeche where indigenous and Mennonite farmers grow maize following traditional farming practices.

Decades of soil degradation had forced farmers to convert rainforest areas into growing fields to continue farming, but when the farmers adopted sustainable intensification methods such as minimal soil movement, surface cover of crop residues and crop rotations, they were able to achieve higher yields even after two months of drought.

The Hopelchén farmers prove the dual benefits of sustainable agriculture in forest areas – forests that would otherwise have been cut down for farmland are preserved, acting as a ‘carbon sink’ by absorbing carbon dioxide that would have been free in the atmosphere, further contributing to climate change. These practices also help farmers adapt to the effects of climate change, like drought and erratic rainfall.

“In order to get adoption right, we are really taking a system-wide approach,” said Van Loon. “We want to integrate mechanization, soil quality, planting density and other approaches like inter-planting with trees to improve biodiversity to get the most efficient system possible.” Van Loon will specifically work with communities to explore mechanization opportunities, from improved hand tools to lightweight motorized equipment like two-wheel tractors.

“The goal is to optimize the benefits from the land that farmers are working, find ways to reduce pressure on opening new land and as such slow the rate of deforestation, preserve biodiversity and provide farmers with techniques for improved and more sustainable practices,” said Van Loon. “Ultimately, we’d like to see these practices adopted across the peninsula.”


CIMMYT is leading sustainable intensification efforts in the Yucatan through the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro) program, along with CitiBanamex, Fundación Haciendas del Mundo Maya, local partners, non-governmental organizations and the Mexican government.  


 


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by The CIMMYT – International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and retrieved on 06/20/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

Land degradation and migration: Will restoring the land keep people at home?

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People living in drylands and other marginal landscapes have always lived with uncertainty and livelihood insecurities. Over time, they have employed a myriad of coping strategies, including seasonal migration in search of food, pasture, and water. Photo: UNDP Somalia


By Phemo Kgomotso, Regional Technical Specialist, Ecosystems and Biodiversity, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa. Date: June 16, 2017

Would forced migration end, if people knew that they could survive and thrive in their homeland?

 

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) asks this pertinent question as we observe World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June, focused on examining the important link between land degradation and migration.

A childhood memory that has stayed with me is from 1992, when Botswana, along with many other countries in southern Africa were hit by what the New York Times called ‘the worst drought of the 20th Century’.

That year, on a hot and dry December day, one of my family members and I spent half a day trekking livestock to the only water source that hadn’t dried up, and another half day trekking back to my grandmother’s farmstead. That year, my family lost over 40 heads of cattle.

Mainly dependent on livestock for subsistence, people living in drylands and other marginal landscapes have always lived with uncertainty and livelihood insecurities and constraints presented by such environments.

Over time, they have employed a myriad of coping strategies, including seasonal migration in search of food, pasture, and water.

The Fulani herders, found in Nigeria, Niger, Guinea, Mali and many parts of the Sahel and West Africa still migrate in search of pasture for their livestock. My own uncles still relocate cattle to areas with better pastures almost every year during the dry season.

Many of these coping strategies have increasingly come into conflict with the more sedentary approaches to agriculture and land use, and are incompatible with ‘modern’ policies and land tenure systems.

The lack of alternatives has in many cases led to poverty, food insecurity, conflict and increasingly outward migration to urban areas.

Two greatest environmental concerns

Land degradation is the reduction or loss in the capacity of soil and land resources to produce food, fodder and other ecosystems services, and desertification is land degradation that occurs in drylands.

It directly impacts the health and livelihoods of an estimated 1.5 billion people globally.

Additional pressure comes from the need to feed a growing global population of over 7 billion requiring food to be produced fast, cheaply and in large quantities.

However, land degradation need not be permanent. Restoration will not be cheap, but the costs of inaction will be even higher.

The UNCCD says that restoring just 12 percent of degraded agricultural land could boost smallholders’ incomes by US$35 billion to $40 billion per year and feed 200 million people annually within 15 years.

Where will the money come from?

Will the money come from the poor Asian and African smallholder farmers who on average own and cultivate just 2.5 hectares to produce 80 percent of the food consumed in these two regions? What are the opportunity costs of adopting sustainable land management practices? What is the role of public funding in making these investments and what should be the role of the private sector in overcoming the investment barriers?

As we pursue the Sustainable Development Goals together with our partners, including the Global Environment Facility, we are exploring answers to some of these questions and leading dialogue and action towards achieving SDG target 15.3 – a land degradation neutral world.

We support 143 countries around the world to address land degradation and other global environmental challenges by assisting them to plan, access, deliver, diversify, scale-up and sequence a variety of environmental financing mechanisms, and combine these with other sources of public and private financing.

Since that big drought year in Botswana, which is also the same year that the world met in Brazil and agreed on the UNCCD and the other Rio Conventions, UNDP has helped mobilize $6.6 billion from various sources to implement the actions agreed under the Rio Conventions and to support sustainable environmental practices around the globe, with clear benefits that advance sustainable development.

The links between land degradation and migration have not always been boldly stated, but they are certainly there, and we need more nuanced research and analysis to better inform responses.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the United Nations Development Programme and retrieved on 06/20/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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