Environment and Climate Change

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Increasing Food Supply Through Production, Trade Policies Necessary To Prevent Widespread Hunger

“If we are to succeed in alleviating poverty and providing the necessary framework for sustainable development on our planet, there is no more pressing need than ensuring the supply of affordable food for our people,” Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” He continues, “There are two keys to tackling this problem, enhancing production — particularly in Africa — and ensuring that trade in food flows unhindered from the lands of the plenty to the lands of the few. Without immediate action in these two areas, there is a risk that hunger will become even more widespread, with many million more lives at stake” (11/21).

Relief Officials Concerned Over Malnutrition Among Children In Ethiopian Refugee Camps Despite Food Aid

Humanitarian aid officials are concerned about high levels of malnutrition among young children at the Dolo Ado refugee camps in southern Ethiopia “despite the free availability of Plumpy’nut, a peanut-based paste in a plastic wrapper for treatment of severe acute malnutrition,” the Guardian reports. “‘Maybe they’re not eating it properly,’ said Giorgia Testolin, head of the refugee section of the World Food Programme Ethiopia. ‘The food is there, there is easy access, but why is the situation so bad? This needs to be investigated,'” the newspaper writes, adding a report (.pdf) out last month from USAID and the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) noted some refugees, including children, sell or trade Plumpy’nut for other supplies, such as sugar, tea leaves, powder milk and meat. Overcrowding in the camps also presents problems, as 8,000 people await the opening of a fifth camp, which has been delayed because proper sanitation facilities are not yet ready, according to relief officials, the newspaper notes (Tran, 11/22).

Agreement On Climate Deal Unlikely At Durban U.N. Conference, Ban Says

“Only a binding global accord on cutting greenhouse gases will spare Africa, the world’s poorest continent, more devastating floods, droughts and famine, a senior African climate change official said on Tuesday” at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, Reuters reports. “The talks, bringing together nearly 200 nations, have repeatedly struggled to get a new deal to update the Kyoto Protocol, whose crucial clause on enforcing targets on carbon cuts expires at the end of next year,” the news service writes. Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, chair of the Africa Group, “said legal force was the only way to make polluters take the necessary action and states who failed to deliver should in effect be ‘named and shamed,'” according to the news service (Lewis, 12/7).

Inter Press Service Features Interview With Incoming FAO Director General

Inter Press Service features excerpts from an interview with Jose Graziano da Silva, former Brazilian minister of food security, “who takes over as the new director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Jan. 1.” Graziano da Silva “believes it is possible to eradicate hunger in the world” and “says that what is needed is an increase in political commitment, the mobilization of even modest resources, and the adoption of absolute rather than relative targets,” according to IPS (Frayssinet, 12/8).

Guardian Examines Efforts To Bring Therapeutic Food Production Into Developing Countries

The Guardian examines how ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) — “small packets of a sticky, peanut butter-like paste, fortified with minerals and vitamins, that can reverse severe malnutrition within six weeks” — “have revolutionized famine relief in Africa,” and asks whether these products could be produced in the countries in which they are being distributed. “The vast majority of RUTFs are produced in the U.S. or Europe, bought by aid agencies such as UNICEF, and transported great distances to reach those in need,” the newspaper writes, adding, “But a small group of social enterprises is questioning this business model, redesigning it with a more local footprint in mind.”

Diarrhea Incidence Higher In Dry Seasons, Study Shows

“Diarrhea, killer of 1.5 million children annually, is likely to become more prevalent in many developing countries as the climate changes, a report says,” the Daily Climate/Scientific American reports. However, unlike conventional beliefs that diarrhea incidence increases during rainy and wet seasons, the researchers, led by Kathleen Alexander, an associate professor…

Pope Francis’s Pledge To Poor Can Translate Into Social Action

Writing in a SciDev.Net feature article, journalist Imogen Mathers examines what the election of the new pope will mean for the development sector. “With the sector gearing up for World Health Day this weekend (7 April), debates continue about what changes — if any — Pope Francis I will make…

U.S., U.N. Perspectives On Food Aid To Somalia Examined

Emergency food aid to Somalia has been interrupted, partly because of a recent U.S. decision to delay food contributions to the country out of concern that it would end up in the hands of terrorists, U.N. officials said on Friday, the New York Times reports.

Media Examines Food Summit Reaction, Malnutrition In Liberia, Yemen

VOA News reports on reactions from last week’s U.N. World Summit on Food Security in Rome: “The delegates in Rome promised to continue efforts to reduce by half the number of hungry people by two thousand fifteen. But critics pointed out that world leaders made a similar promise more than ten…

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