Population growth and global warming to put millions at risk of absolute water scarcity

December 18, 2013

SOURCE: US News

Although water scarcity is already a problem in many countries today due to factors like population growth, the effects of global warming could put millions more people at risk of absolute water scarcity, according to a new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

 

Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider 

40 per cent more people at risk 

The study, published on Monday, found that water resources will be affected by changes in rainfall and evaporation due to climate change, putting 40 per cent more people at risk of absolute water scarcity.

"We conclude that the combination of unmitigated climate change and further population growth will expose a significant fraction of the world population to chronic or absolute water scarcity," the study says.

Now, between one and two people out of 100 live in countries with absolute water scarcity, which is defined as less than 500 cubic meters of water available per year and per person, according to the study. On average, each person consumes about 1,200 cubic meters of water each year. But population growth combined with the effects of global warming could bring the ratio of people living in countries with absolute water scarcity up to about 10 in 100 people.

Water use and management must be improved

"The quantities that most humans need for drinking and sanitation are relatively small, and the fact that these basic needs are not satisfied for many people today is primarily a matter of access to, and quality of, available water resources," the study says.

Unless greenhouse gas emissions get cut soon, this situation could become reality "within the next few decades," Jacob Schewe, the study's lead author, said in a statement.

But because climate change does not have the same effect across or even within certain countries, some areas will be hit harder than others. The Mediterranean, the Middle East, the southern United States and southern China, for example, could see a "pronounced decrease of available water," while southern India, western China, and parts of eastern Africa could see an increase.

To account for the uncertainty of climate change – the magnitude of its effects and water scarcity changes at a regional level – the researchers used 11 hydrological models, produced by five different global climate models. The results in the study represent the multiple-model average.

Water availability: a major challenge for societies  

"The purpose is to explore the associated uncertainties and to synthesize the current state of knowledge about the impact of climate change on renewable water resources at the global scale," the study says.

While the average level of water scarcity resulting from population change alone is amplified by 40 per cent with climate change, some models suggested the amplification could be as high as 100 per cent.

"This dwindling per-capita water availability is likely to pose major challenges for societies to adapt their water use and management," the study says.

This article, published by US News, has been reproduced by PSN. Minor changes, cuts and additions may have been made for the purpose of brevity and relevance.

UN predicts near doubling of city dwellers by 2050

December 13, 2013

SOURCE: UN via Associated Press

The number of city dwellers is at an all-time high of about 3.5 billion and will nearly double in the next 30 to 40 years, with almost all the growth in developing countries.

 

Credit: UN Photo/Kibae Park

Urban population set to grow by 3 billion

Dr. Joan Clos, the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), said even though the rate of population growth is decreasing, the U.N. projects that in the next 30 years the global population will increase from 7 billion to 9 billion — and the urban population will grow between 2.5 billion and 3 billion people.

"In all human history we have reached 3.5 billion of urban settlers and in the next 30 years we are going to have 3 billion more," Clos said. "Imagine the changing rate — what we have done in all human history, we nearly will do in the next 30 to 40 years of history."

With 96 percent of the growth of cities expected in poorer developing countries, he said, there are going to be huge demands on land, resources and services for urban residents.

Dr. Clos, spoke at a news conference promoting UN-Habitat's upcoming World Urban Forum from April 5-11 in Medellin, Colombia which will focus on growing inequalities in urbanization worldwide.

Increasing number of slum inhabitants

Currently, Clos said, the world is experiencing "the highest rate of urbanization in human history," and national and local governments don't have the capacity to address key issues including organization, governance, finance and the provision of services.

In recent decades, he said, inequalities in urban areas have led to protests and unrest as cities have faced difficulties integrating a big influx of migrants. "This is why we are very worried, because the number of people living in slums is increasing," Clos said.

UN-Habitat said it estimates that between 2000 and 2010 a total of 227 million people in the developing world experienced improvements in their living conditions, with China and India alone accounting for 166 million, or 55.5 percent of the global effort. This met a U.N. anti-poverty goal before the 2015 target date, Clos said.

At the same time, however, UN-Habitat said the world's slum population rose from 650 million in 1990 to 767 million in 2000, and to 828 million in 2010 and an estimated 863 million in 2012.

Clos said the cities of the world will have to handle millions of new arrivals "because they cannot hide — they cannot go away."

The challenge is whether the growth of cities can be done "in a planned and designed manner, in order to provide some basic services at affordable costs for the citizen," he said. "Otherwise, they will grow spontaneously without any planning and the number of slum dwellers will keep rising", Clos said.

This article, by UN via Associated Press, has been reproduced by PSN. Minor changes and cuts may have been made for the purpose of brevity and relevance.

Sustainable development: Lessons from Population, Health, and Environment projects in East Africa

December 12, 2013

SOURCE: DSW

PSN network member, DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung) has released a new briefing on its Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) project in East Africa. The briefing shares lessons and useful recommendations to refine the PHE development framework.

 

Credit: 2003 Chandrakant Ruparelia, Courtesy of Photoshare

The briefing, 'Sustainable development in East Africa: Lessons from four Population, Health, and Environment Projects', features insights from four ongoing PHE projects in East Africa—two led by Pathfinder International and two by DSW and provides useful recommendations to refine the Population, Health, and Environment development framework.

The aim of PHE projects is to improve access to reproductive and other health services for vulnerable populations in rural and ecologically threatened areas, and also empowering these communities to better manage their natural resources.

The PHE approach proposes that close collaboration and coordination across multiple sectors contributes to holistic results—people with improved health outcomes, diversified livelihoods, and stronger, more sustainable ecosystems.

Read DSW's new briefing: 'Sustainable development in East Africa: Lessons from four Population, Health, and Environment Projects'.

UN: World must sustainably produce 70 per cent more food by 2050 to meet population growth

December 5, 2013

SOURCE: UN

The world will need 70 per cent more food, as measured by calories, to feed a global population of 9.6 billion in 2050, and must achieve this through improvements in the way people produce and consume, according to a report by the United Nations and its partners.

 

Credit: UN Photo/Fred Noy

Global food crisis

“Over the next several decades, the world faces a grand challenge – and opportunity – at the intersection of food security, development and the environment,” said Andrew Steer, President of the World Resources Institute (WRI), which produced the report along with UN agencies and the World Bank.

“To meet human needs, we must close the 70 per cent gap between the food we will need and the food available today. But, we must do so in a way that creates opportunities for the rural poor, limits clearing of forests, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture,” Dr. Steer said.

The interim report, entitled “World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future,” finds that boosting crop and livestock productivity on existing agricultural land is critical to saving forests and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  

It cautions, however, that the world is unlikely to close the food gap through yield increases alone, which would have to greatly outpace previous advances to keep up.  For that reason, it recommends reducing food loss and waste, reducing excessive demand for animal products and following other “climate-smart” guidelines.

‘Climate smart’ approach an imperative for sustainability

“From reducing food waste to improving agricultural practices, feeding a growing population requires working on several fronts at the same time,” said Juergen Voegele, World Bank Director for Agriculture and Environmental Services.  

“Applying the principles of climate smart agriculture across landscapes – that means crops, livestock, forests and fisheries – has the potential to sustainably increase food security, enhance resilience and reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint. Pursuing this approach is not a luxury, it’s an imperative.”

The report also recommends achieving replacement-level fertility, a rate it says most of the world is nearing by educating girls, reducing child mortality and providing access to reproductive health services. 

Given currently-projected growth, however, sub-Saharan Africa will need to more than triple its crop production by 2050 to provide adequate food per capita.  

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) also contributed to the report, the final version of which will be released in mid-2014.

Read the report: 'World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future,'.

Find out more: about the World Resources Report.

This article, published by UN, has been reproduced by PSN. Minor changes, cuts and additions may have been made for the purpose of brevity and relevance.

World AIDS day: Time for the prevention revolution

December 2, 2013

SOURCE: European Voice

World AIDS day was observed yestereday, prompting the question that if we are serious about eradicating AIDS we need to focus on prevention – this requires the promotion of reproductive health and family planning.

 

Credit: UNFPA/Omar Gharzeddine

Treating the effects rather than funding prevention

Over recent years funding to tackle the consequences of AIDS in the developing world (clinics, antiretroviral drugs, etc.) has grown exponentially – now standing at seven or eight times more than it was a decade ago. Achieving such a level of donor support for treatment of the disease constitutes an outstanding success and should be held as a model for the EU's health priority in development.

However, most of this money is strictly directed at the effects of the disease – it does not, for example, go to providing contraception – and we must acknowledge that our efforts to prevent the disease are faltering. As is detailed in the UNAIDS Global Report 2013, many countries are not on track to meet targets for reducing sexual transmission of AIDS.

It is evident that, in the same way as we have had a treatment revolution, we now need a prevention revolution. For this to happen we must target the disease in women, as the primary way AIDS now spreads in many parts of the developing world is through women.

Women and girls most at risk

One such region is sub-Saharan Africa, where 76% of HIV-positive women in the world live. The majority of these are in the 15-24 age group – making it not so much woman's disease as a girl's disease. In Swaziland, the most severely impacted country in the region, a startling 46% of all women of reproductive age are infected, and life expectancy has fallen from 60 to 40 in the past decade.

Women in these countries are vulnerable to the disease because they are often not in a position to negotiate safe sex due to lower social status, sexual violence, and gender-based violence. They are also more likely than men to be uneducated and illiterate and therefore ill-informed about sexual and reproductive matters.

For those who are aware of the risks, access to contraception is often very limited. All of this is on top of the fact that women are physiologically two to four times more likely than men to become infected.

Reproductive health and family planning is crucial 

Given this basket of causes, it is clear to many that the key to tackling the epidemic is integrating the promotion of reproductive health and family planning in the fight against AIDS.

As Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS, succinctly puts it: “For a prevention revolution we need to combat public hypocrisy on sexual matters, build AIDS competencies and systematically promote sexual and reproductive health rights.”

Spelt out, this means: promoting gender equality, availability of contraception, education, addressing stigma and discrimination, and training of healthcare workers.

These are areas vital not only in preventing the spread of AIDS, but also in addressing the challenges of population and development - unwanted pregnancy, maternal mortality, fistula, unsafe abortion, gender based violence, STIs, child marriage and female genital mutilation. Countries with high rates of AIDS in young women also tend to have high instances of teenage pregnancy and unsafe abortion. The UN Population Fund 2013 State of the World Population Report shows that the majority of the 16 million 15- to 19-year-old girls giving birth each year are from sub-Saharan Africa.

Funding gap must be addressed

Yet, in stark contrast to the steep rise in funding for AIDS treatment, the international community's funding of reproductive health and family planning has seen very little increase in recent years. Sparking a prevention revolution necessarily means upping funding to these areas.

At the international level, institutions must work together to ensure that these human rights are part of the post-2015 development targets that will replace the Millennium Development Goals. Such a focus is absolutely essential if we are serious about eradicating AIDS and improving the situation of women and girls in the developing world.

This article, by European Voice, has been reproduced by PSN. Minor changes and cuts may have been made for the purpose of brevity and relevance.

South scores 11th-hour win on climate loss and damage at UN climate talks

November 26, 2013

SOURCE: IPS

Held on 11th–23rd November in Warsaw, Poland, the nineteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) brought together people from all over the world to negotiate the details of the next global agreement on climate change.

 

Credit: UN Photo/UNFCCC/Jan Golinski 

Hard negotiations  

The U.N. climate talks in Warsaw ended in dramatic fashion Saturday evening in what looked like a schoolyard fight with a mob of dark-suited supporters packed around the weary combatants, Todd Stern of the United States and Sai Navoti of Fiji representing G77 nations.

It took two weeks and 36 straight hours of negotiations to get to this point.

At issue in this classic North versus South battle was the creation of a third pillar of a new climate treaty to be finalised in 2015. Countries of the South, with 80 percent of the world’s people, finally won, creating a loss and damage pillar to go with the mitigation (emissions reduction) and adaptation pillars.

Warsaw mechanism

Super-typhoon Haiyan’s impact on the Philippines just days before the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) amply illustrated the reality of loss and damages arising from climate change.  Philippines lead negotiator Yeb Saño made an emotional speech announcing “fast for the climate” at the COP19 opening.

His fast would only end with agreement on a loss and damage mechanism – an official process now called the “Warsaw Mechanism” to determine how to implement this third pillar. Much still needs to be defined. Climate impacts result in both economic and non-economic losses, including the growing issue of climate refugees, people who are forced to move because their homelands can no longer support them.

“This Warsaw decision on loss and damage is a major breakthrough,” said Bangladesh’s Saleem Huq, a senior fellow at theInternational Institute for Environment and Development in the UK. “There is a long way yet to go for an effective climate treaty,” Huq told IPS.

The U.N. talks known as COPs are part of a complex and acronym-laden process to create a new climate treaty to keep global warming to less than two degrees C, and to help poorer countries survive the mounting impacts.

Broken promises

In 2009 at the semi-infamous Copenhagen talks, the rich countries made a deal with developing countries, saying in effect: “We’ll give you billions of dollars for adaptation, ramping up to 100 billion dollars a year by 2020, in exchange for our mitigation amounting to small CO2 cuts instead of making the big cuts that we should do.”

The money to help poor countries adapt flowed for the first three years but has largely dried up.  Warsaw was supposed to be the “Finance COP” to bring the promised money. That didn’t happen.

Countries like Germany, Switzerland and others in Europe only managed to scrape together promises of 110 million dollars into the Green Climate Fund. Developing countries wanted a guarantee of 70 billion a year by 2016 but were blocked by the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan and others.

The mitigation pillar in Warsaw is even shakier. Japan said they couldn’t make their promised emission reductions and gave themselves a new extremely weak target. Canada and Australia thumbed their noses at their reduction commitments and are increasing emissions.

Today’s reality is that slightly more than half of annual CO2 emissions are coming from the global south. In Warsaw, the big emitters like China and India refused to take on specific reduction targets. Instead they agreed to make “contributions”.  

To have a good chance at staying under two degrees C, industrialised countries need to crash their CO2 emissions 10 percent per year starting in 2014, said Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester. “We can still do two C but not the way we’re going,” Anderson said.

Surprise success

The one surprising success at COP 19 was an agreement on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). This will provide compensation for countries that could lose revenue from not exploiting their forests. Deforestation and conversion of forests to farmland contributes about 10 percent of total human-caused CO2 emissions.

“We now have a system in place to do REDD and reduce emissions,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, an indigenous representative from the Philippines.

It’s a strong package that includes verification, monitoring and safeguards for local communities. Countries have to put all of this in place before they can access finance either through the Green Climate Fund or through carbon markets, Tauli-Corpuz told IPS. “Hopefully, it will pump a lot of money into local communities and reduce deforestation,” she said.

This article, published by IPS, has been reproduced by PSN. Minor changes, cuts and additions may have been made for the purpose of brevity and relevance.

PSDA highlights population and sustainability links at International Conference on Family Planning

November 18, 2013

SOURCE: PSDA

Last week at the International Conference on Family Planning 2013 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, participants came together with the Population and Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA) to take part in an important yet overlooked dialogue for the post-2015 development framework.

 

Credit: Nurul Alam Masud

An interactive debate

The PSDA side-event, 'Population, Family Planning and Sustainability Links: Voices from the South’ explored the relationships between population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and sustainable development issues, from the perspectives of voices from the Global South.

Chaired by A.Tianna Scozzaro of Population Action International, the interactive panel debate brought together the following Southern members and associates of the alliance to share experiences from their countries of the interactions between population, health and gender issues with problems such as climate change, food insecurity and natural resource degradation:

Linked issues require integrated solutions

After an introduction to the alliance by PSN’s Sarah Fisher, the panellists provided insights from their work, including Population Health Environment (PHE) approaches integrating reproductive health with sustainable development initiatives.

The complementary strategies discussed ranged from the promotion of alternative livelihood strategies in the face of climate change, to giving communities a voice through local radio, and advocacy to ensure that progressive policy is put into practice.

The reality that people do not live their lives in silos but experience the connections between health, environment and development issues on a daily basis, provided a resounding call for the scale-up of these integrated approaches which meet a range of sustainable development needs at the local level, with the potential for global impact.

Looking to post-2015

Questions and discussion focused on the extent to which the messages and findings from integrated interventions are being incorporated into advocacy to influence the post-2015 framework, and the best strategies for ensuring that. There was debate about the importance of advocacy at the national level versus the international level, with the conclusion being that both are critical, and particularly by countries from the global South.

This conclusion resonated with other recent PSDA discussions in Ethiopia.  Including those at the PSDA members’ conference and post-2015 workshop, and the International PHE Conference held in Addis Ababa prior to the International Conference on Family Planning, in addition to the roundtable lunchtime discussion facilitated by PSDA on the final day of the family planning conference.

There is a real sense that with the world looking for a set of sustainable development goals to inform the next development agenda, now is a critical moment for approaches that show how integration works and can be done, if only the opportunity can be seized. As called by a participant in the event; “Now is the time for national and international advocates to come forward: we only have a small window to influence.”

Read PSDA’s new briefing: Population Dynamics, Reproductive Health and Sustainable Development: Critical Links and Opportunities for Post-2015. 

PSDA meets in Ethiopia to strategize on post-2015

November 18, 2013

SOURCE: PSDA

The Population and Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA) came together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week for a series of events held prior to the International Conference on Family Planning: a PSDA Members Meeting and Post-2015 workshop, a PHE field trip and the International PHE Conference.

 

PSDA Logo 2 COLOUR

Credit: PSDA

Members’ meeting and post-2015 workshop

The PSDA members’ meeting and workshop, held on Saturday 9th November, brought together alliance members and a number of other civil society organisations to share information and strategize about influencing the Sustainable Development Goals process and next international development agenda.

Key reflections included:

  • The necessity of tailored messages which resonate with particular audiences and discourses
  • The potential value of an integrated approach using cross-cutting targets and indicators across a range of relevant goals
  • The need for coordinated and strategic action to influence the January Open Working Group (OWG) meeting (including the topics of sustainable cities and climate change) and the February OWG meeting (including gender equality and women’s empowerment) 
  • The key opportunity that the post-2015 processes award for advancing integrated approaches
  • The importance of advocacy at both the national and international levels for ensuring that this opportunity is seized.

We were pleased to welcome both new and old friends of the alliance, and look forward to collaborating further to achieve the goal of integrating population dynamics and sexual and reproductive health and rights into the post-2015 framework.  

PHE Field trip

On Sunday 10th November, PSDA and additional select participants took part in a field trip to the town and area of Wolkite in South West Ethiopia.

The field trip, hosted by PSDA member PHE Ethiopia Consortium, visited a Population Health Environment (PHE) Programme led by the Guraghe People’s Self-Help Development Organization (GPSDO).

The trip provided a valuable opportunity not only to meet project staff, including volunteer health workers and beneficiaries, but also to see at first hand the integrated health, developmental and environmental aspects of the project, and their complementary impacts.

Participants had the opportunity to meet with volunteer community health workers and women and men from the communities they serve. As a result of these community-based methods of providing family planning information and services, significantly higher contraceptive prevalence has been recorded in communities where the project operates.

Alongside this work, the project is providing conservation training to communities and rehabilitating highly degraded land in the region. A visit was also paid to a local school in the community which was in danger of collapse as a nearby gorge was encroaching on the school due to land degradation. Thanks to the project, students at the school have been able to be actively involved in averting the school’s collapse through the implementation of sound environmental conservation practices, including terracing and tree planting. This has taken place as part of a student club facilitated by the project, which also works to empower pupils at the school through information, education and services relating to sexual and reproductive health and discussions and activities to promote gender equality.

The trip proved an inspiring opportunity to see PHE approaches in action, leaving participants in eager anticipation of the International PHE conference beginning the following day.

International PHE Conference

On Monday 11th November, PSN’s Coordinator, Karen Newman, gave a presentation on behalf of PSDA at the International Population, Health, and Environment Conference 2013.

The presentation, entitled The sustainable development goal process: Why PHE is relevant, and how to link with the process effectively, generated much interest from delegates keen to ensure that the opportunities that PHE awards to promote sustainability are seized in the post-2015 agenda. This was a discussion that PSDA continued later on in the week at a side-event at the International Conference on Family Planning 2013.

The conference brought together PHE advocates and implementers from across the world. A number of PSDA members participated in the conference, which was co-organised by Population Reference Bureau and PSDA member PHE Ethiopia Consortium.

Read about PSDA’s further event in Addis Ababa on integrated approaches and the post-2015 framework, at the International Conference on Family Planning.

Global conference closes with call for family planning to be centre of post-2015 agenda

November 18, 2013

SOURCE: ICFP 2013

Civil society leaders at the 2013 ICFP have urged governments to make family planning an essential part of improving maternal and child health, guaranteeing women's rights and lifting countries out of poverty.

 

Credit: 2011 Sirish B.C., Courtesy of Photoshare

Hard negotiations  

The U.N. climate talks in Warsaw ended in dramatic fashion Saturday evening in what looked like a schoolyard fight with a mob of dark-suited supporters packed around the weary combatants, Todd Stern of the United States and Sai Navoti of Fiji representing G77 nations.

It took two weeks and 36 straight hours of negotiations to get to this point.

At issue in this classic North versus South battle was the creation of a third pillar of a new climate treaty to be finalised in 2015. Countries of the South, with 80 percent of the world’s people, finally won, creating a loss and damage pillar to go with the mitigation (emissions reduction) and adaptation pillars.

Warsaw mechanism

Super-typhoon Haiyan’s impact on the Philippines just days before the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) amply illustrated the reality of loss and damages arising from climate change.  Philippines lead negotiator Yeb Saño made an emotional speech announcing “fast for the climate” at the COP19 opening.

His fast would only end with agreement on a loss and damage mechanism – an official process now called the “Warsaw Mechanism” to determine how to implement this third pillar. Much still needs to be defined. Climate impacts result in both economic and non-economic losses, including the growing issue of climate refugees, people who are forced to move because their homelands can no longer support them.

“This Warsaw decision on loss and damage is a major breakthrough,” said Bangladesh’s Saleem Huq, a senior fellow at theInternational Institute for Environment and Development in the UK. “There is a long way yet to go for an effective climate treaty,” Huq told IPS.

The U.N. talks known as COPs are part of a complex and acronym-laden process to create a new climate treaty to keep global warming to less than two degrees C, and to help poorer countries survive the mounting impacts.

Broken promises

In 2009 at the semi-infamous Copenhagen talks, the rich countries made a deal with developing countries, saying in effect: “We’ll give you billions of dollars for adaptation, ramping up to 100 billion dollars a year by 2020, in exchange for our mitigation amounting to small CO2 cuts instead of making the big cuts that we should do.”

The money to help poor countries adapt flowed for the first three years but has largely dried up.  Warsaw was supposed to be the “Finance COP” to bring the promised money. That didn’t happen.

Countries like Germany, Switzerland and others in Europe only managed to scrape together promises of 110 million dollars into the Green Climate Fund. Developing countries wanted a guarantee of 70 billion a year by 2016 but were blocked by the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan and others.

The mitigation pillar in Warsaw is even shakier. Japan said they couldn’t make their promised emission reductions and gave themselves a new extremely weak target. Canada and Australia thumbed their noses at their reduction commitments and are increasing emissions.

Today’s reality is that slightly more than half of annual CO2 emissions are coming from the global south. In Warsaw, the big emitters like China and India refused to take on specific reduction targets. Instead they agreed to make “contributions”.  

To have a good chance at staying under two degrees C, industrialised countries need to crash their CO2 emissions 10 percent per year starting in 2014, said Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester. “We can still do two C but not the way we’re going,” Anderson said.

Surprise success

The one surprising success at COP 19 was an agreement on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). This will provide compensation for countries that could lose revenue from not exploiting their forests. Deforestation and conversion of forests to farmland contributes about 10 percent of total human-caused CO2 emissions.

“We now have a system in place to do REDD and reduce emissions,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, an indigenous representative from the Philippines.

It’s a strong package that includes verification, monitoring and safeguards for local communities. Countries have to put all of this in place before they can access finance either through the Green Climate Fund or through carbon markets, Tauli-Corpuz told IPS. “Hopefully, it will pump a lot of money into local communities and reduce deforestation,” she said.

This article, published by IPS, has been reproduced by PSN. Minor changes, cuts and additions may have been made for the purpose of brevity and relevance.

Global acclaim for PSN member Blue Ventures

November 18, 2013

SOURCE: Blue Ventures

Blue Ventures Conservation received high-level endorsement at last weeks International Conference on Family Planning for its programme in Madagascar integrating reproductive health services with marine conservation.

 

blue ventures

Credit: Dr Garth Cripps / Blue Ventures

Exemplary model

Marine conservation organisation, Blue Ventures Conservation, received an Excellence in Leadership for Family Planning (EXCELL) award at the International Conference on Family Planning held in Ethiopia this week.

Over 3,000 delegates from more than 100 countries gathered at the conference, which was centred on the theme “Full Access, Full Choice”, to discuss effective ways of delivering voluntary family planning services worldwide.

Blue Ventures was one of just two organisations to be presented with an EXCELL award at this global event. The selection committee praised Blue Ventures’ trailblazing commitment to providing isolated communities with full access to voluntary family planning services, as well as its progress in advocating for other conservation organisations to adopt this integrated Population-Health-Environment (PHE) approach.

PHE was held up as an exemplary model for reaching the hardest to reach communities with reproductive health services.

Over the past six years, Blue Ventures has worked with 40 remote communities in southwest Madagascar, leading to a more than fivefold increase in contraceptive use from 10% in 2007 to 55% in 2013.

The selection committee, convened by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, judged nominations on the basis of their proven impact and potential reach. The inaugural EXCELL awards recognise major breakthroughs in the areas of family planning demand generation, service provision, research and advocacy.

International acclaim

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Madagascar nominated Blue Ventures for the award, stating:

"Blue Ventures is demonstrating how conservation organisations working in remote, highly biodiverse and under-served areas can address unmet family planning needs effectively within a rights-based framework.

They have forged strong partnerships with the Madagascar Ministry of Health, Marie Stopes Madagascar and Population Services International to integrate community-based reproductive health education and services with their existing marine conservation and coastal livelihood initiatives."

Speaking about winning the award, Dr Vik Mohan, Medical Director of Blue Ventures, said:

"This award honours the tremendous dedication of Blue Ventures’ excellent community health team, and represents high-level endorsement for our integrated PHE approach. It is remarkable for a marine conservation organisation to be receiving this award! This is clear communication from the international family planning community that PHE offers an innovative, powerful and desperately needed model for providing some of the world's most under-served communities with full access to reproductive health choices.”

Congratulations from PSN 

PSN Co-Ordinator, Karen Newman, adds:

“This award is richly deserved by Blue Ventures and is very timely; as 2014 is a critical year for identifying the post MDG international development landscape.  The pioneering work of Blue Ventures, demonstrating that a community-identified need for both family planning and marine conservation services can be effectively met through co-ordinated services, is proof of the value of the Population, Health and Environment integrated approach to sustainable development, and positive proof of the importance and value of integrating population dynamics into sustainable development interventions and programmes”.

Information about Blue Ventures can be found on their website.