Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Droughts could push parts of Africa back into famine

Drought and erratic rains could lead to further food scarcities in Africa warns the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The WFP singles out South Sudan, the world's newest nation, and Niger as nations of particular concern. Earlier this year famine killed scores of people, including an estimated 30,000 children, in Somalia. In South Sudan drought and ongoing conflict threaten food supplies for 2.7 million people.

"A gathering storm of hunger is approaching South Sudan, caused by crop failure and market disruption," said WFP director in South Sudan, Chris Nikoi. "Food prices have already doubled or tripled in some areas, leaving hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to malnutrition at a key developmental stage of their young lives." 

The WFP states it is upping operations to feed more people in the new nation in 2012, but warns that lack of infrastructure and land mines makes travel difficult. It says it needs emergency funds of nearly $100 million for food services in South Sudan for the first quarter of 2012.

For further information:


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Indian land grab in Africa

Joining the neo-colonial bandwagon, Indian companies are taking over agricultural land in African nations and exporting produced food at the cost of locals

Indian companies venturing abroad is always regarded as a healthy trend, an indicator of India’s new-found economic status. But little is known about how these companies are flexing their imperalistic muscles in poorer countries, grabbing the land and giving little in return. A report ‘India’s Role in the New Global Farmland Grab’ by researcher Rick Rowden brings forth these atrocities which are shockingly similar to what India used to blame rich western countires for.

Joiing the race with China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, South Korea and the European Union, Indian and Indian-owned companies are acquiring land in Africa at throwaway prices, indulging in enviornmental damange and exporting the food while locals continue to starve. The origin of this unhealthy practice can be traced back to the food crisis of 2008 when rich countries were forced to confront the reality of how fragile the global food scenario can be, especially for those without sufficient cultivable land. To ensure more direct control over food, these countries started acquiring land in poorer African countries and shipping the produce back home. A recent World Bank report found that 45 million hectares of large scale farmland deals had been announced between 2008 and 2009. More

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New solutions needed to improve food security in Gulf

JEDDAH: Economic analysts and experts say the world's major threats of population growth, climate change and natural disasters, which have led to food shortage and an increase in food prices, will consequently endanger food security in the Gulf.

The issue of food security in the GCC countries has become alarming with the rapid growth in global population, harsh climatic changes and natural disasters that have affected food-exporting countries — especially those in East Asia. All these factors together led to raising average food prices by 30-40 percent, amid expectations that prices will continue to increase at record levels over the next five years.     

If these challenges are still a distant reality for GCC countries, this does not mean the Gulf region is immune against their effects. The picture of any impact on the Gulf region can be seen clearly and strongly through food imports.

The GCC countries export about 70 percent — 80 percent to secure its food needs, and this figure rises to be around 100 percent with the export of basic food commodities for traditional Gulf daily dishes. More

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UN warns 25% of planet's land is highly degraded

The United Nations has completed the first global assessment of the state of the planet's land resources, finding in a report Monday that a quarter of all land is highly degraded and warning the trend must be reversed if the world's growing population is to be fed.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that farmers will have to produce 70 per cent more food by 2050 to meet the needs of the world's expected 9 billion-strong population. That amounts to 1 billion tons more wheat, rice and other cereals and 200 million more tons of beef and other livestock. But as it is, most available land is already being farmed, and in ways that often decrease its productivity through practices that lead to soil erosion and wasting of water, the report said.

That means that to meet the world's future food needs, a major "sustainable intensification" of agricultural productivity on existing farmland will be necessary, the FAO said in State of the World's Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture.
FAO's director-general Jacques Diouf said increased competition over land for growing biofuels, coupled with climate change and poor farming practices, had left key food-producing systems at risk of being unable to meet human needs in 2050. "The consequences in terms of hunger and poverty are unacceptable," he told reporters at FAO's Rome headquarters. "Remedial actions need to be taken now. We simply cannot continue on a course of business as usual." More

Monday, November 28, 2011

Climate change, extreme weather spike food prices

As the latest round of international climate change talks begins Monday in Durban, South Africa, Oxfam is warning that extreme weather linked to global warming is causing food prices to rise and putting the world's most vulnerable people at risk.

Severe drought in Africa has pushed more than 13 million people into crisis, the aid agency reports, citing a 393% rise in sorghum prices in Somalia and a 191% spike in maize prices in Ethiopia in July compared to a five-year average. In Russia and the Ukraine, drought and fires following a heat wave destroyed much of the 2010 harvest, causing a 60% to 80% increase in global wheat prices within three months.

Oxfam's warning follows a report earlier this month from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that found heat waves, floods and other extreme weather worsen with global warming. The IPCC said worse heat waves worldwide are "very likely" and other extreme weather could intensify unless climate change is mitigated.

"From the Horn of Africa and South East Asia to Russia and Afghanistan, a year of floods, droughts, and extreme heat has helped push tens of millions of people into hunger and poverty," said Oxfam's Kelly Dent in announcing the report's findings. "This will only get worse as climate change gathers pace and agriculture feels the heat. Governments must act now in Durban to protect our food supply and save millions from slipping into hunger and poverty." More

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rising Meat Consumption Takes Big Bite out of Grain Harvest

World consumption of animal protein is everywhere on the rise. Meat consumption increased from 44 million tons in 1950 to 284 million tons in 2009, more than doubling annual consumption per person to over 90 pounds. The rise in consumption of milk and eggs is equally dramatic. Wherever incomes rise, so does meat consumption.  

As the oceanic fish catch and rangeland beef production have both leveled off, the world has shifted to grain-based production of animal protein to expand output. With some 35 percent of the world grain harvest (760 million tons) used to produce animal protein, meat consumption has a large impact on grain consumption, and therefore global food security.  The efficiency with which various animals convert grain into protein varies widely. Grain-fed beef is one of the least efficient forms of animal protein, taking roughly 7 pounds of grain to produce a 1-pound gain in live weight.   Global beef production, most of which comes from rangelands, has grown by about 1 percent a year since 1990.  Pork production has grown by 2 percent annually since 1990. World pork production, half of it now in China, overtook beef production in 1979 and has widened the lead since then. It requires over 3 pounds of grain to produce each 1-pound gain in live weight. More

Monday, October 31, 2011

Climate-Smart Agriculture Conference Adopts Wageningen Statement

26 October 2011: The Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture brought together scientists from 38 countries to take stock of the current state of global knowledge on science and best practices on climate-smart agriculture, and to identify key priorities and efficient ways to implement interventions.

The conference, which took place in Wageningen, the Netherlands, from 24-26 October 2011, focused on: enhancing food production while reducing emissions; overcoming barriers to climate-smart agriculture; and managing volatility and risk through technological and socioeconomic options.

The event concluded with the adoption of "The Wageningen Statement: Climate-Smart Agriculture - Science for Action," which acknowledges the challenges of addressing food security, poverty eradication, and climate change adaptation and mitigation in the context of a growing world population. It notes that many of the techniques used in climate-smart agriculture are based on proven techniques, such as mulching, intercropping, integrated pest and disease management, conservation agriculture and forecasting. The statement urges increased farm and landscape level research, education, extension and innovation through sustainable intensification, integrated scientific approaches, breeding priorities for 2030, and national decision policies to overcome barriers to climate-smart agriculture. The statement also calls on stakeholders to contribute to platforms to improve dialogue on policies and practices for climate-smart agriculture, including financing early action on proven technologies and practices to drive change in agricultural production systems.

The meeting was a follow-up to the Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in 2010, which was organized to follow-up the Shared Vision Statement agreed to at the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17) in May 2009, and to further develop the agriculture, food security and climate change agenda. The 2011 meeting was co-organized by the World Bank and supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). More

Safar stresses significance of Arab food security

Oct 30 Kuwait's Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Dr. Fadhil Safar asserted here on Sunday the importance of food security, describing it as one of the most pressing issues that require appropriate solutions in order to secure a stable and prosperous life for Arabs.

Safar, in a speech marking the start of the 39th meeting of the Executive Council of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development organized by the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources, expressed hope in achieving goals and reaching the level of expectations for coordination and cooperation among Arab countries in the field of agriculture.
He highlighted the importance of achieving sustainable Arab agricultural development, which requires ambitious programs, plans and a clear strategy implemented on the ground to meet the needs and requirements of people in the Arab region.
He said that there are a number of important issues on the agenda, which include a review of programs, projects and agricultural activities that have been implemented during the 38th session or will be implemented for the current session of the Executive Council.
He added that "this requires all of us to pass the necessary recommendations and to take appropriate decisions, particularly with respect to these programs, projects and activities that will be implemented, stressing the importance of providing scientific data and technology to ensure the implementation of the functions of sustainable agricultural development in all Arab countries.
Safar, on behalf of Kuwait, praised the tireless efforts of the Director General of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, Dr. Tariq ibn Musa al-Zadjali and Chairman of the Organization's Executive Board, Dr. Fahd bin Abdulrahman Al-Ghoneim, in their efforts to attain the desired integration between the meeting Arab states. More

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Water emergencies grip Tuvalu & Tokelau

As governments and aid agencies scramble to deliver desalination plants and bottled water to drought stricken Pacific Island nations of Tuvalu and Tokelau, other Pacific Island nations - Samoa and the Cook Islands - are preparing for a similar fate.
Is this band-aid approach to solving this problem going to be enough?

Redina Auina, spokeswoman for the Tuvalu Faith Based Youth network, who partner with, is in Tuvalu and describes the feelings of people as they face the reality of less than 5 days of drinkable water in the nations capital, Funafuti --
Experts say the past 12 months have been the second driest in Funafuti's 78 years of records. While we do not make any claims to it being solely a climate change related event, the reality is that the line between what is normal climatic variation and what might be extremes resulting from accelerated climate change is being blurred. This is particularly true for the hydrological cycle, which is sensitive to even subtle variations in the global climate and often results in either too much water, or in our case at the moment, too little. With an intense La Nina weather pattern over much of the Pacific, we’re not likely to see rain for months to come. It’s these kind of extremes that we are told will become our new reality for Tuvalu and the Pacific region as a whole. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

World Food Day, 16 October 2011

Food prices - from crisis to stability

Price swings, upswings in particular, represent a major threat to food security in developing countries. Hardest-hit are the poor. According to the

World Bank, in 2010-2011 rising food costs pushed nearly 70 million people into extreme poverty.

“FOOD PRICES – FROM CRISIS TO STABILITY” has been chosen as this year’s World Food Day theme to shed some light on this trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable.

On World Food Day 2011, let us look seriously at what causes swings in food prices, and do what needs to be done to reduce their impact on the weakest members of global society. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Film on Climate Refugees Strikes a Chord

During the shooting of his 2010 documentary “Climate Refugees,” the Irish-American filmmaker Michael Nash visited nearly 50 countries in about

18 months, interviewing politicians, scientists, health workers and victims of floods, cyclones, hurricanes and droughts.

Click here for film trailer

His conclusion was that short- and longer-term changes in climate are causing vast numbers of people to abandon their jobs, homes and countries to seek better lives elsewhere, or to simply survive. (Jeffrey Gettleman’s recent coverage of the Somali refugee crisis in The Times has offered some vivid and disturbing examples, although Somalia’s troubles are also inextricably linked to political turmoil.)

Mr. Nash poses a basic question: what will become of the millions of people whose lack of access to food and clean water leads them to take increasingly desperate measures? What type of strains will huge migration put on resources in more developed countries?

Will this dislocation eventually, as the retired Navy vice admiral Lee Gunn told Mr. Nash, pose a threat to Americans’ national security, too?

By focusing on the consequences of climate change rather than its scientific causes, some experts suggest that Mr. Nash succeeded in circumventing a divisive political debate over global warming and the extent to which human activity contributes to it. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Food Security and Climate Change: The True Cost of Carbon

With wheat prices surging as major producers are hit by droughts and other extreme weather events, it’s costing everyone more to eat

Writing on page one in the New York Times Justin Gillis recently sounded the alarm on what Lester Brown has been warning us for years: Climate change is threatening our food supply.
With fuel prices down (not much) we’d like to think the economy will settle down. But volatility in markets, food baskets, and weather are rattling many. Indeed, food, feed, and fuel prices are contributing to the growing political instability across the globe.
The summer heat engulfed towns felled by fiendish twisters. The Mighty Mississippi breached shores all along its course after being pounded by heavy rains and nourished by melting snow, the hangover from a brutal winter. The hundred-year floods inundated homes, homesteads, and farms, taking a toll on communities and commodities.

The wide swings in weather were matched by major outlier events. All of us experienced the shifting weather patterns. This is the new norm. And as the climate changes, the extremes are proving especially costly for global food security. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Economy, Peak Oil and Permaculture

Richard Heinberg- Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute is a Permaculturist.

His latest book describes The End of Growth- isn't looking for when the recession will end and we'll get back to "normal". He believes our decades-long era of growth was based on aberrant set of conditions- namely cheap oil, but also cheap minerals, cheap food, etc- and that looking ahead, we need to prepare for a "new normal". The problem, according to Heinberg, is our natural resources just aren't so cheap and plentiful anymore, and he's not just talking about Peak Oil, Heinberg believes in Peak Everything (also the title of one of his books). Heinberg thinks for many, adjusting to a life where everything costs a bit more, could be very hard, but he also thinks the transition to a new normal might actually make life better. "Particularly in the Western industrialized countries we've gotten used to levels of consumption that are not only environmentally unsustainable, they also don't make us happy. They've in fact hollowed out our lives. We've given up things that actually do give us satisfaction and pleasure so that we can work more and more hours to get more and more money with which to buy more and more stuff- more flatscreen tvs, bigger SUVs, bigger houses and it's not making us happier. Well, guess what, it's possible to downsize, it's possible to use less, become more self sufficient, grow more of your own food, have chickens in your backyard and be a happier person." This is not all theoretical. In the backyard of the home Heinberg shares with his wife, Janet Barocco, the couple grow most of their food during the summer months (i.e. 25 fruit & nut trees, veggies, potatoes.. they're just lack grains), raise chickens for eggs, capture rainwater, bake with solar cookers and a solar food drier and secure energy with photovoltaic and solar hot water panels. Their backyard reflects Heinberg's vision for our "new normal" and it's full of experiments, like the slightly less than 120-square-foot cottage that was inspired by the Small Home Movement. It was built with the help of some of Heinberg's college students (in one of the nation's first sustainability classes) using recycled and natural materials (like lime plaster). Heinberg admits it's not a real tiny house experiment since they don't actually live in it- his wife uses it as a massage studio, he meditates there and sometimes it's used as a guest house (though that's hush hush due to permitting issues). But their tiny cottage points to the bigger point behind why a transition to a less resource intensive future could equal greater happiness. "Simplify. Pay less attention to all of the stuff in your life and pay more attention to what's really important. Maybe for you it's gardening, maybe for you it's painting or music. You know we all have stuff that gives us real pleasure and most of us find we have less and less time for that because we have to devote so much time to shopping, paying bills and driving from here to there and so on. Well, how about if we cut out some of that stuff and spend more time doing what really feeds us emotionally and spiritually and in some cases even nutritionally."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Climate change threatens to hike hunger in the Pacific – report

BANGKOK (AlertNet) – Climate change threatens to increase hunger and malnutrition among millions of poor people in the 14 small and geographically remote island nations of the Pacific unless action is taken, a new report by the Asian Development Bank said.

Food Security and Climate Change in the Pacific: Rethinking the Options urged Pacific nations, many of which are in fragile and conflict-affected situations and suffering from slow economic growth rates, to manage natural resources better and increase local food production, particularly of climate-resistant crops such as taro, yam, and cassava.

"Rising temperatures and rising tides due to climate change could reduce food supply in the Pacific,” Mahfuzuddin Ahmed, a senior economist in the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Department who wrote the report, said in a statement.

“With over 10 million people in developing countries in the region, this is a threat that we cannot ignore," he added.

The region is already seeing a decline in agricultural production per capita and productivity has stagnated, the report said, partly due to an increase in migration from rural to urban areas and also because of fragile ecosystems and a limited natural resource base.

The Pacific is also considered one of the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change such as natural disasters and sea level rises, which are expected to reduce the agricultural output further. More >>>

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Kingdom of Magical Rhinking

In 1935, an oilman visiting the Middle East reported back to his headquarters, "The future leaves them cold. They want money now."

Although the temptation of overspending has repeatedly undermined oil-rich governments from Caracas to Tehran, Saudi Arabia avoided this trap over the last decade through fiscal discipline that has kept its expenditures below its swelling oil receipts.

But in a recent report striking for the candor of its unpalatable conclusions, Saudi investment bank Jadwa laid out the kingdom's inexorable fiscal challenge: how to balance soaring government spending, rapidly rising domestic oil demand, and a world oil market that gives little room for further revenue increases. And that was before the recent economic turmoil knocked $20 per barrel off oil prices.

Saudi Arabia's government spending, flat since the last oil boom in the 1970s, is now rising at 10 percent or more annually. And it will rise faster still: The House of Saud's survival instinct in the wake of the initial Arab revolutions led King Abdullah to announce $130 billion of largesse in February and March. The resulting increases in government employment and salaries can be cut only at the cost of more discontent.

And that's only what the kingdom is spending on its "counterrevolution" at home. Saudi Arabia will pay the lion's share of the pledged $25 billion of Gulf Cooperation Council aid to Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, and Oman. With Iraq, Syria, and Yemen likely flashpoints yet to come, the bill will only increase. Already, nearly a third of the Saudi budget goes toward defense, a proportion that could rise in the face of a perceived Iranian threat. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Friday, August 26, 2011

Live Streaming of the International Permaculture Conference - IPC 10

For those who cannot make it to the IPC10 in Jordan next month (September 2011), my announcement here should hopefully be gladly received! PRI Australia has put up the funds for the additional equipment I needed to enable me to live-stream the International Permaculture Conference (IPC10) to the internet.

I’ll be live-streaming the 1-day Conference, and with a bit of luck perhaps even parts of the 4-day Convergence (the latter I’m not so confident about as I need to see if the internet connection is up to par when I physically get there, but from reports it’s looking positive).
Even if you cannot make the exact times of the live-streams, the system we’re using will subsequently have the streams available on-demand — so you can play them later.

This will be the first time an IPC has been live-streamed. (I’m told there was an attempt to do this at IPC9 in Malawi, but the internet connection was insufficient for the task.) More >>>

Location:Amman, Jordan

Irrigation and climate change

While attention has, appropriately, been focused on getting food and medicines to the victims of the famine in the Horn of Africa, many observers are asking about longer-term solutions, especially if droughts such as the current one become more frequent with climate change. One possibility is to expand irrigation.

Currently, only about 4 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s arable land is irrigated; the rest is rain-fed, meaning it is susceptible to droughts and floods. Yet, irrigated land can have yields that are up to five times those of rain-fed areas. It must be the case that the costs of irrigation—capital, recurrent, administrative, political—are sufficiently high to outweigh these benefits. But if you take into account the possibility of more frequent floods and droughts, which would make irrigated land relatively more attractive, does the benefit-cost calculation change?

The short answer is yes. In a calculation for the Zambezi basin, Aziz Bouzaher and I estimate that the costs of tripling the irrigated area are about equal to the benefits—if you ignore the effects of climate change. It is not surprising therefore that there has not been much investment in irrigation. But when you include as benefits of irrigation the avoided damage from increasingly frequent droughts (using fairly conservative assumptions), the overall benefits are double the costs. Recognizing that the effects of climate change will increasingly affect rain-fed agriculture may tip the scales in favor of more irrigation in Africa, and lead to higher yields for African farmers.

More information on the costs and benefits of irrigation in the Zambezi River Basin (PDF)

Location:Cayman Islands

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Expanding Deserts, Falling Water Tables, and Toxic Pollutants Driving People from Their Homes

People do not normally leave their homes, their families, and their communities unless they have no other option.

Yet as environmental stresses mount, we can expect to see a growing number of environmental refugees. Rising seas and increasingly devastating storms grab headlines, but expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic waste and radiation are also forcing people from their homes.

Advancing deserts are now on the move almost everywhere. The Sahara desert, for example, is expanding in every direction. As it advances northward, it is squeezing the populations of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria against the Mediterranean coast. The Sahelian region of Africa—the vast swath of savannah that separates the southern Sahara desert from the tropical rainforests of central Africa—is shrinking as the desert moves southward. As the desert invades Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, from the north, farmers and herders are forced southward, squeezed into a shrinking area of productive land. A 2006 U.N. conference on desertification in Tunisia projected that by 2020 up to 60 million people could migrate from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa and Europe.

In Iran, villages abandoned because of spreading deserts or a lack of water number in the thousands. In Brazil, some 250,000 square miles of land are affected by desertification, much of it concentrated in the country’s northeast. In Mexico, many of the migrants who leave rural communities in arid and semiarid regions of the country each year are doing so because of desertification. Some of these environmental refugees end up in Mexican cities, others cross the northern border into the United States. U.S. analysts estimate that Mexico is forced to abandon 400 square miles of farmland to desertification each year.

In China, desert expansion has accelerated in each successive decade since 1950. Desert scholar Wang Tao reports that over the last half-century or so some 24,000 villages in northern and western China have been abandoned either entirely or partly because of desert expansion. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Monday, August 22, 2011

Farming overhaul vital for food, water security: UN

Agricultural methods need to be radically overhauled to ensure food production rises to meet increasing demand but that water resources are not depleted further by doing so, research showed on Monday.

A radical overhaul of agriculture could create farms that enhance, rather than degrade, the world's ecosystems, said a report led by the United Nations' Environment Programme and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
"Managing water for food and ecosystems will bring great benefits, but there is no escaping the urgency of the situation," said David Molden, deputy director general for research at IWMI.
"We are heading for disaster if we don't change our practices from business as usual," he added.
Water limits are close to being "reached or being breached" in areas such as northern China, India's Punjab and western United States, said the report, entitled 'An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water and Food Security'. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jamaican Delegation Attends 4th Singapore International Water Week

Permanent Secretaryin the Ministry of Housing, Environment and Water, Genefa Hibbert, and Chairman of the Water Resources Authority of

Jamaica, Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr., recently attended the 4th
Singapore International Water Week, Water Convention and Water Leaders Summit.
The week-long event held in the South- East Asian city-state, was attended by over 2,500 delegates from around the world. Major issues, such as climate change, urbanization and water supply, as well as water security were discussed. High level meetings and discussions were also held with regional and global water ministers, as well as industry and academic leaders.

A session was also held with the Singaporean Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong on the policy and strategic direction for water affairs for the country, as well as providing leadership and sharing expertise with the rest of the world.

The Jamaican delegation met with senior members of Singapore’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources including the Minister, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan; Junior Minister, Mrs. Grace Fu Hai Yien. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On thin ice

The Arctic — a mosaic of oceans, glaciers and the northernmost projections of several countries — is a place most of us will never see. We can imagine it, though, and our mental picture is dominated by one feature: ice.

Yet the Arctic sea ice is changing dramatically, and its presence shouldn’t be taken for granted, even over the course of our lifetimes. According to new research from MIT, the most recent global climate report fails to capture trends in Arctic sea-ice thinning and drift, and in some cases substantially underestimates these trends. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, released in 2007, forecasts an ice-free Arctic summer by the year 2100, among other predictions. But Pierre Rampal, a postdoc in the Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), and colleagues say it may happen several decades earlier. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Friday, August 12, 2011

Call for reservoirs to store rainwater

Monsoon always have a great impact on local agriculture as good rains always increase production of both major and minor crops of Pakistan, which boosts the agriculture sector growth.

There is a need to establish water reservoirs to store this precious natural resource while promotion of rainwater harvesting technique is also a need of hour for Pakistani agriculture.

These views were expressed in the Jang Economic Session on ‘Monsoon-Impact on Agriculture and Economy’, here on Thursday. Participants in the moot included Meteorologist Riaz Khan, Monitoring Chief PMIU Irrigation and Power Department Punjab Habibullah Bodla, President Basmati Growers Association (BGA) Hamid Malhi, Director Farmer Associates of Pakistan (FAP) Rabia Sultan and Chairman AgriForum Pakistan Ibrahim Mughal. The moot was hosted by Sikindar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Tariq.

Riaz Khan said that water was the lifeline for agriculture and Pakistani agriculture mainly depended upon rainwater. He said winter rains and snowfall in northern areas irrigated Rabi crop. He said historically 70 mm rain on average had been recorded in winters, which filled 80 per cent of Mangla Dam. He said low and medium flood was very important for river channels as well as for improving ground water table while high floods created troubles due to non availability of water reservoirs infrastructure. Habibullah Bodla said rainwater was very useful for agriculture sector but its benefits were never exploited properly. He said in 2010, Pakistan wasted 1.2 million acre feet rainwater in flood while China save similar quantity out of its 2.1 million acre feet rainwater by storing in dams. He said it has never been thought to utilize the abundant monsoon rainwater by constructing dams. He said that this year so far good rainfall was recorded in rice, cotton and other crops growing zones. He criticized that due to poor forecast system rainwater was also wasted in Pakistan. More >>>


Thursday, August 11, 2011

International Permaculture Conference and Convergence, IPC10, will be held in Jordan across September 2011

The biennial International Permaculture Conference is the world's premier permaculture gathering.

The next International Permaculture Conference and Convergence, IPC10, will be held in Jordan across September 2011. The theme is "Plan Jordan ~ Water".

The 1-day IPC10 Conference (open to all) and 4-day IPC10 Convergence (open to Permaculture Design Certificate graduates only) will be held in Jordan (Amman and Wadi Rum, respectively) and will be coordinated by Nadia 'Abu Yahia' Lawton. Prior to the start of the Conference and subsequent Convergence, a two-week International Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course will be taught by a team of respected permaculture educators and pratitioners, and all three events will be followed by tours and permaculture site visits.

The theme of IPC10 is highly appropriate given the United Nations have just launched their Decades for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification. We have the solutions!

You are cordially invited to support this valuable initiative with your presence and involvement! We welcome submissions for appropriate articles to appear below! More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Managing Contraction, Redefining Progress

Only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend upon the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to
existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.
—Milton Friedman (economist)

Many analysts who focus on the problems of population growth, resource depletion, and climate change foresee gradually tightening constraints on world economic activity. In most cases the prognosis they offer is for worsening environmental problems, more expensive energy and materials, and slowing economic growth.

However, their analyses often fail to factor in the impacts to and from a financial system built on the expectation of further growth—a system that could come unhinged in a non-linear, catastrophic fashion as growth ends. Financial and monetary systems can crash suddenly and completely. This almost happened in September 2008 as the result of a combination of a decline in the housing market, reliance on overly complex and in many cases fraudulent financial instruments, and skyrocketing energy prices. Another sovereign debt crisis in Europe could bring the world to a similar precipice. Indeed, there is a line-up of actors waiting to take center stage in the years ahead, each capable of bringing the curtain down on the global banking system or one of the world’s major currencies. Each derives its destructive potency from its ability to strangle growth, thus setting off chain reactions of default, bankruptcy, and currency failure. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The World Needs a New Language

We know it is dangerous to cross a red light, so we wait until it turns green.

We do not go out sailing when the weather forecast promises a great storm. We accept it when a doctor tells us to take medicine to prevent hypertension.

We do not drink the water if there is sign saying that it is contaminated. We are constantly accepting different potential risks and manoeuvring to limit them.

But when it comes to climate change, our willingness to accept it as a potential great risk is missing - and so is our motivation to respond to it with our normal risk-behaviour.

97 percent of the climate scientists believe global warming is happening, that humans are largely responsible and that we need to take action now. From their perspective there is a mountain of evidence on the reality of climate change; the nearest thing to an open-and-shut case that scientist can produce. They are constantly trying to convince us -- the public -- of this fact.

But still the concern shared by almost every scientist is not concurrent with the general public opinion. 44 percent of Americans still believe that global warming is primarily caused by planetary trends, according to a poll from Rasmussen Reports conducted in April. And 36 percent do not believe climate change is a serious problem.

Thus we are currently witnessing an enormous reality gap between science and the public -- with very different perceptions of the risks posed by climate change.

If scientists could solve climate change on their own, the lacking public support wouldn't be a problem. But they can't. Without the endorsement from the general public, the fight against climate change does not stand much of a chance. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

UNGA Debate on Right to Water Highlights Impact of Climate Change

27 July 2011: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) held a debate on the human right to water and sanitation, during which a number of speakers highlighted that climate change constitutes an obstacle to the enjoyment of this right, stressing the particular situations of small island low-lying States.

The debate took place on 27 July 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. In his opening address, Joseph Deiss, UNGA President, recalled that, in July 2010, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on the human right to water and sanitation, which he said was an important first step towards the explicit acknowledgment of that resource as a human right.

Egypt said States must take all necessary measures to extend human rights, including the right to clean water and sanitation. He added that Egypt’s efforts were challenged by funding, climate change, population growth and other factors, and indicated that his Government had adopted an integrated national plan to address these challenges. Senegal stressed the need to address climate change and drought in order to achieve the right to water, calling for increased assistance.

Cuba called for enhanced cooperation in the face of climate change, calling for the creation of mechanisms that are not dependant on the international financial institutions.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines expressed support for the UNGA resolution by which the Assembly had recognized the right to water and sanitation as a human right. He underlined that his country's achievements in terms of ensuring the realization of that right, considering its limited resources, illustrate the importance of political will. He emphasized the urgency of “looming threats” to achieving the right to water, namely climate change and desertification. He added that his country often resorts to transporting water by ship and said sea-level rise would have a disastrous effect. He concluded by calling for mainstreaming the issue in the global agenda.

Maldives explained that her country's main source of water is shallow groundwater, underscoring its extreme vulnerability to water scarcity. She called for considering the legally binding right to water in the context of sea-level rise, climate change, and other critical phenomena. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Iraq could be running out of water

Ensuring national security is the most important issue for any country, and strategies are developed and policies made towards that end.

The issue of national security goes beyond the concept of safeguarding the land, skies and water of a given country to stopping the country from breaking apart and protecting it against threats to its natural resources.
Most Arab countries are considered arid because on the one hand the rates of rainfall are very low and, on the other, water resources — if they exist — are located outside their geographical boundaries.
However, over the years, this delicate issue has not received the attention it deserves.

On March 21 this year, the UN issued a report on the eve of World Water Day, about the tragic water situation in Iraq. The report said that 50 per cent of water resources are wasted in Iraq, and six million people have no access to clean water.
In the report, the UN warned that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers could completely dry up by 2040. The accelerating decline of water supplies and increasing demand threaten to bring Iraq closer to the water poverty threshold, the report cautioned.

We shall overlook the negative aspects of the report, about Iraq running out of water and the dangers to the environment of the whole region — and focus on the possibility of Iraq becoming an arid country.
The UN report failed to make clear some points, as it follows diplomatic protocols that forbid it from stating facts in a blunt manner. The real reason behind the expected water catastrophe in Iraq is the drop in the water levels at the sources of the two rivers.

Iraq suffers from drought; rainfall is low and does not exceed 200 millimetres annually at most locations, while the rainfall exceeds 600 millimetres, and at times double the amount, in the Kurdish region of the country. Hence water strategy depends mainly on the river water. However, the source of both rivers is outside the country. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scholarships and Bursaries Call for Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Scholarships and Bursaries Call for Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Study areas related to Climate Change that can be considered for these Scholarships and Bursaries are:
Climatology; Environmental Sciences; Coastal Management; Water Resources; Sustainable Tourism; Gender Studies

The CARIBSAVE Partnership, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Waterloo (UW), Canada, announce a joint research project entitled:

Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation (ParCA)*

Students’ scholarships and bursaries will focus on ParCA; a project that will conduct comparative case study research in Tobago, Jamaica and two Atlantic Canadian provinces. The project will use a community-based vulnerability assessment (CBVA) framework in collaboration with coastal communities and local partners to identify vulnerabilities and exposures, and develop strategies for adaptation to climate change. Under this program, funding is available for Caribbean Nationals to study at the University of the West Indies or the University of Waterloo at Masters and PhD levels.

ELIGIBILITY for Scholarships and Bursaries

Must be a Caribbean National
Must have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at a high level in an area relevant to Climate Change including Climatology, Environmental Sciences, Coastal Management, Water Resources, Sustainable Tourism, Gender Studies.
Must have been accepted and registered in a Masters or PhD Programme at UWI or UW.
Evidence of professional experience in any of the fields indicated above will be an asset.
Applicants for Scholarships and Bursaries will be assessed by a Selection Committee established by the University of the West Indies, the University of Waterloo and The CARIBSAVE Partnership.

Applications should be sent via email to The Office of Research, The University of the West Indies: and must be copied to The CARIBSAVE Partnership: When applying please include ‘ParCA’ as Subject in the email.

The following should be included in your Application: an up to date Curriculum Vitae; a covering letter indicating qualifications; professional experience; preferred study location (UWI Campus or Waterloo); your area of interest for graduate studies and full contact details for three Referees. Closing date for this round of applications is 31 August 2011.

* Funding for this project and its student scholarships and bursaries is kindly provided by the Canadian IDRC and the Tri Council and disseminated through The CARIBSAVE Partnership, The University of Waterloo and The Unversity of the West Indies. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, July 29, 2011

Report: U.S. Cities Must Prepare for Water-related Impacts of Climate Change

Today marks the release of a new NRDC report called Thirsty for Answers: Preparing for the Water-related Impacts of Climate Change in American Cities.

The report makes clear that some of the most profound effects of climate change are water-related, like sea level rise, increased rain and storms, flooding, and drought. These changes affect the water we drink, fish, and swim in, as well as impact our infrastructure and the economy.

One need only look as far as the recent deadly flooding and severe storms in the Midwest, or to the impacts of the prolonged drought across the South, to understand the profound effects of water, or a lack thereof. Whether any specific weather event, like the flooding in the Midwest, reflects the impacts of climate change or not, the research compiled in our report makes clear that these kinds of events are likely to increase in the coming years as a result of climate change.

In our report, we compiled local and regional research findings about the water-related impacts of climate change in 12 U.S. cities (chosen for their geographic diversity and range in size, in order to provide a snapshot of the varied national picture): New York, Boston, Norfolk (Virginia), Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Homer (Alaska). We also analyzed what many of these municipalities are doing in terms of preparedness planning, and offer their solutions as examples for other communities to emulate.

A brief rundown of the types of changes and impacts detailed in the report include:

Rising Seas: Most of the coastal cities in the report are facing threats from sea level rise, including coastal flooding and storm surges. Miami ranks number one worldwide in terms of assets exposed to coastal flooding, and the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metropolitan area ranks tenth, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Rising seas threaten to decimate the protective wetlands surrounding New Orleans and inundate a large portion of the Florida Keys.

Increased Storms and Flooding: The Midwest and East Coast are at the highest risk for more frequent and intense storms. The frequency of very heavy rainfall in Chicago, for example, is expected to increase by 50 percent in the next 30 years. More frequent and intense rainfall contributes to the type of flooding recently seen along the Mississippi River, and combined sewer overflows that send untreated sewage and stormwater into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

Water Supply Impacts: Rising seas are likely to cause increased saltwater intrusion into freshwater supplies, including drinking water for millions of Americans, especially in Miami and the San Francisco Bay area. In the West, rising temperatures, less rain, and decreased snowpack will create challenges for maintaining a sufficient water supply. For example, a large decline in the spring snowpack in the watersheds that supply water to Seattle is projected over the next two decades. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An effective response to climate change

Foreign Secretary William Hague has delivered a speech titled 'The Diplomacy of Climate Change' to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Thank you Governor Whitman. I am most grateful for your generous introduction.

I am delighted to be here at the Council on Foreign Relations. In the modern networked world, diplomacy is no longer the sole preserve of diplomats. Instead, we all have a stake in global affairs. That is why the work of renowned bodies such as this is more valuable than ever.

Today I want to talk about why I believe we, as foreign policy practitioners, need to up our game in building a credible and effective response to climate change. Climate change is perhaps the twenty-first century’s biggest foreign policy challenge along with such challenges as preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. A world which is failing to respond to climate change is one in which the values embodied in the UN will not be met. It is a world in which competition and conflict will win over collaboration.

We are at a crucial point in the global debate on climate change. Many are questioning, in the wake of Copenhagen, whether we should continue to seek a response to climate change through the UN and whether we can ever hope to deal with this enormous challenge.

I will first argue that an effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity. Second, our response should be to strive for a binding global deal, whatever the setbacks. And third, I will set out why effective deployment of foreign policy assets is crucial to mobilising the political will needed if we are to shape an effective response. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

African land grab threatens food security: study | Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Rich countries grabbing farmland in Africa to feed their growing populations can leave rural populations there without land or jobs and make the continent’s hunger problem more severe, an environmental think tank said on Tuesday.

The trend is accelerating as wealthier countries in the Middle East and Asia, particularly China, seek new land to plant crops, lacking enough fertile ground to meet their own food needs, Washington DC-based Worldwatch Institute said.

Worldwatch said its researchers interviewed more than 350 farmers’ groups, NGOs, government agencies and scientists over 17 months. The meetings, held in 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, addressed issues that hinder the efforts of African farmers to alleviate hunger and poverty.

“People are always saying that Africa needs to feed itself. It can’t do that if the Chinese and the Saudis are taking up the best land for production for food,” Danielle Nierenberg, director of Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet project, told Reuters.

The International Food Policy Research Institute reports that 15 million to 20 million hectares of land in sub-Saharan Africa have been purchased by foreign investors between 2006 and mid-2009. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Microfinance Can Help Rural Communities Adapt to Climate Change

CAPE TOWN, Jun 27, 2011 (IPS) - Projects to fight climate change are being designed all around the world. But only five percent of them can be financed with the current international funds available, which means resources have to be used more wisely. Microfinance could be one solution.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges to development that the world has ever faced.

According to the World Bank, mitigation of its effects in developing countries could cost 140 to 175 billion dollars per year by 2030, while adaptation costs are expected to reach between 75 and 100 billion dollars per year between 2010 and 2050.

"The low-income masses will be most affected by climate change in their daily lives. We need solutions for mainstreaming adaptation projects to also include these people," said African Development Bank director for energy, environment and climate change development Hela Cheikhrouhou.

She spoke at the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) 2011 Partnership Forum, held from Jun. 24-25 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The CIF, established by the World Bank and regional multilateral development banks, provide funding to support developing countries’ climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Even though more than a third of CIF money have so far gone to 15 African countries, few people in rural and poverty-stricken areas – who struggle most to access financing – have been able to benefit from the schemes, largely due to administrative barriers.

"We need to make sure that funds can be accessed by rural populations because there is urgency in making climate change projects happen on the ground," said Victor Kabengele, project coordinator at the ministry of environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He demanded less red tape and fewer conditions -- otherwise including the poor in climate change projects would remain an empty promise. Without money, the best ideas are worth little, Kabengele pointed out: "Money is the name of the game. Access to microcredit is therefore crucial." More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rising Temperatures Melting Away Global Food Security

WASHINGTON, Jul 6, 2011 (IPS) - Heat waves clearly can destroy crop harvests. The world saw high heat decimate Russian wheat in 2010. Crop ecologists have found that each one-degree Celsius rise in temperature above the optimum can reduce grain harvests by 10 percent. But the indirect effects of higher temperatures on our food supply are no less serious.

Rising temperatures are already melting the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Recent studies indicate that a combination of melting ice sheets and glaciers, plus the thermal expansion of the ocean as it warms could raise sea level by up to six feet during this century.

Yet even a three-foot rise in sea level would sharply reduce the rice harvest in Asia, a region home to over half the world's people that grows 90 percent of the world's rice. It would inundate half the riceland in Bangladesh and submerge part of the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam. Viet Nam, second only to Thailand as a rice exporter, could lose its exportable rice surplus.

This would leave the 20 or so countries that import rice from Viet Nam looking elsewhere. Numerous other rice-growing river deltas in Asia would be submerged in varying degrees.

While the ice sheets are melting, so too are mountain glaciers. The snow and ice masses in the world's mountain ranges and the water they store are taken for granted simply because they have been there since before agriculture began. Now we risk losing the "reservoirs in the sky" on which so many farmers and cities depend.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service reported in 2010 the 19th consecutive year of shrinking mountain glaciers. Glaciers are melting in all of the world's major mountain ranges, including the Andes, the Rockies, the Alps, the Himalayas, and the Tibetan Plateau. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

A world in hunger: east Africa and beyond

The severe drought across much of east Africa is a human emergency that requires urgent attention. It also signals a global crisis: the convergence of inequality, food insecurity and climate change.

A drought across much of east Africa in mid-2011 is causing intense distress among vulnerable populations, many of them already pressed by poverty and insecurity. The range of the affected areas is extensive: the two districts in Somalia that are now designated as famine-zones are but the most extreme parts of a much wider disaster that stretches from Somalia across Ethiopia into northern Kenya, and as far west as Sudan and even the Karamoja district in northeast Uganda.

The numbers put at risk in this, the worst drought in the region since the 1950s, are enormous. At least 11 million people are touched by the disaster. In the Turkana district of northern Kenya, 385,000 children (among a total population of about 850,000) are suffering from acute malnutrition (see Miriam Gathigah, “East Africa: Millions Stare Death in the Face Amidst Ravaging Drought”, TerraViva / IPS, 18 July 2011). In Somalia, the conflict between the Islamist Shabaab movement and the nominal government makes conditions even more perilous for those affected.

The world's largest refugee camp, at Dadaab in northern Kenya, offers a stark illustration of the consequences of the drought. The population of Dadaab, which was designed to cope with 90,000 people, has increased in recent months to 380,000 - and 1,300 more are arriving daily (see Denis Foynes, “Eleven Million at Risk in Horn of Africa”, TerraViva / IPS, 19 July 2011).

The lessons of crisis

But just as striking is that this is part of a recurring phenomenon. Major warning-signs of malnutrition and famine were already visible in April 2008; among them were climatic factors, steep oil-price increases, increased demand for meat diets by richer communities, and the diversion of land to grow biofuel crops (see “The world’s food insecurity”, 24 April 2008).
More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Growing Water Deficit Threatening Grain Harvests

Many countries are facing dangerous water shortages. As world demand for food has soared, millions of farmers have drilled too many irrigation wells in efforts to expand their harvests.

As a result, water tables are falling and wells are going dry in some 20 countries containing half the world’s people. The overpumping of aquifers for irrigation temporarily inflates food production, creating a food production bubble that bursts when the aquifer is depleted.

The shrinkage of irrigation water supplies in the big three grain-producing countries—the United States, India, and China—is of particular concern. Thus far, these countries have managed to avoid falling harvests at the national level, but continued overexploitation of aquifers could soon catch up with them.

In most of the leading U.S. irrigation states, the irrigated area has peaked and begun to decline. In California, historically the irrigation leader, a combination of aquifer depletion and the diversion of irrigation water to fast-growing cities has reduced irrigated area from nearly 9 million acres in 1997 to an estimated 7.5 million acres in 2010. (One acre equals 0.4 hectares.) In Texas, the irrigated area peaked in 1978 at 7 million acres, falling to some 5 million acres as the Ogallala aquifer underlying much of the Texas panhandle was depleted.

Other states with shrinking irrigated area include Arizona, Colorado, and Florida. All three states are suffering from both aquifer depletion and the diversion of irrigation water to urban centers. And now that the states that were rapidly expanding their irrigated area, such as Nebraska and Arkansas, are starting to level off, the prospects for any national growth in irrigated area have faded. With water tables falling as aquifers are depleted under the Great Plains and California’s Central Valley, and with fast-growing cities in the Southwest taking more and more irrigation water, the U.S. irrigated area has likely peaked.

India is facing a much more difficult situation. A World Bank study reported in 2005 that the grain supply for 175 million Indians was produced by overpumping water. Water tables are falling in several states, including Punjab and Haryana, two surplus grain producers that supply most of the wheat and much of the rice used in India’s massive food distribution program for low-income consumers. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Eleven Million at Risk in Horn of Africa

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 19, 2011 (IPS) - "I have never seen anything like it. Many mothers have lost three or four children. It's a tragedy out here," Austin Kennan, regional director for the Horn of Africa for Concern Worldwide, told IPS from within the crisis zone.

The United Nations and humanitarian workers report that food insecurity is now at emergency levels across the Horn of Africa, affecting Kenya, Ethiopia and especially south Somalia, with 11 million people in dire need of emergency assistance due in part to a major prolonged drought.

"From our point of view, this is the worst drought we have seen in Africa since the 1950s, but it must be remembered that this is not the only factor that led to this level of crisis," Alun McDonald, media and communications officer for the Horn, East and Central Africa at Oxfam, explained to IPS.

"The effects of high staple food prices and the conflicts in the region over the last few decades have become all the more devastating due to the drought," said McDonald, who is based in Nairobi. "This combination has wreaked havoc in the region." More >>>

Ensuring fair shares in a world of limits

As worldwide demand increases for natural resources that are already in short supply, how should aid donors and campaigners respond? 

As the 21st-century global economy increasingly hits natural resource limits and planetary boundaries, fundamental questions about fair shares will start to arise. How these arguments play out will exert a crucial influence over prospects for poor people and international development. Are aid donors, NGOs and other development opinion-formers paying attention?

Demand for resources of all kinds – especially food, oil, land, water and "carbon space" for greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere – is growing exponentially. It's a logical consequence of the world's population continuing to grow, and the global middle class becoming larger and more affluent.

But even as demand grows, supply is struggling to keep up. The yield gains of the agricultural "green revolution" are running out of steam. Competition for land and water is intensifying. Investment in new oil production is inadequate to meet future demand, according to the International Energy Agency – even before peak oil is taken into account. Carbon space is acutely limited if the world is to limit global warming to anything like 2C. More >>>

Yemen entering serious humanitarian crisis

World Food Program (WFP) -Yemen Situation Report

It is WFP’s assessment that Yemen is entering a serious humanitarian crisis. UN presence in the country is essential, both to provide relief during the ongoing political and economic emergency, as well as to ensure operational continuity.

The security situation in Sana’a is stable but remains tense. The ceasefire in the neighbourhoods of Hassaba and Hadda continues to hold.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains out of country. Government officials are reporting that he will not return from Saudi Arabia pending clearance from his doctor.
On 16 July 2011, the Youth Revolution Council chaired by activist Tawakol Karman declared the formation of a transitional council to manage the affairs of the country. The Government of Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Information has dubbed the move “a coup against constitutional legitimacy.” Some youth groups in Sana’a have yet to respond to the council’s formation, while the Al-Hirak secessionist movement in the south has rejected it outright.
As of 18 July 2011, the total number of Abyan IDPs residing in Aden, Lahj and Abyan governorates was approximately 80,000.
Fuel remains scarce or non-existent in most of the country, though availability has improved slightly in Sana’a. The situation has also improved marginally in Aden, on account of donations made by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the card-based rationing system introduced by the Yemen Petroleum Company.
UNHCR has not yet transferred to Al-Mazrak Camp II the 4,000 urban refugees who were displaced by the fighting in Hassaba. Thus far, only 40 families had been successfully transported. UNHCR is now reassessing its strategy for this caseload. More >>>