Feed the world sustainably: challenging
Mar29

Feed the world sustainably: challenging

Feed the world sustainably: challenging Welcome words by Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) at Media Training-Promoting Biosafety in Nigeria held in Benin City , Nigeria, on Friday, 24th March 2017   Promoting genetically modified organisms: dangerous The need to interrogate our biosafety has become very pertinent because of the many myths around modern agricultural biotechnology. These myths are being peddled regularly by the industry promoting genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their team players in public offices. A major plank on which biosafety, and perhaps biosecurity, rests is the precautionary principle[1]. This principle, or approach, is a safeguard against the permission or introduction of products or elements into the environment where there is no scientific consensus that such an introduction would be safe or would not have an adverse impact. In other words, the precautionary principle helps to disallow the use of citizens as guinea pigs in experimental release of products that could harm them. The argument that there is a risk in everything is hollow and an acceptance of that as an excuse to expose citizens to harm is inhuman. Information of biosafety: a moral duty In this engagement on biosafety we hope to share information on the issues of biosafety and GMOs in Nigeria and Africa. The aim is that media practitioners would be able to sift the facts from the myths, and by so doing help the public to require a sense of responsibility from our biosafety regulators, research institutions, political forces and commercial interests behind the risky genetic engineering approach to food production.The key myths by which citizens are sold the idea of GMOs as being desirable include that they provide the most assured way of feeding the burgeoning population of hungry mouths in the world. The planks on which this highly seductive myth has been erected are quite flimsy. Why GMO is saleable ? Research has shown that GMOs do not necessarily yield higher than normal crops, making the talk of producing more food by using GMOs simply fatuous. Secondly, over one third of food currently produced in the world today simply gets wasted,[2] while most of the GMOs currently grown in the world end up as animal feed.[3]Another argument used to sell GMOs is that they require the use of less chemical in terms of pesticides and herbicides because the crops can be engineered to withstand herbicides or to act as pesticides themselves. A possible source for cancer The emergence of what have been termed super weeds and superbugs have dented that claim as farmers have had to sometimes apply stronger doses of herbicides and pesticides on farms where such...

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Climate and Development Agendas Are Inherently Linked
Mar26

Climate and Development Agendas Are Inherently Linked

Speaking at the opening of the President of the General Assembly High-Level Event Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda in New York on 23 March, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said that the sustainable development and climate change agendas are inherently linked. “By looking at climate and sustainability holistically, we maximize the potential for positive outcomes of every action we take. And when international commitments are turned into country-level action, tangible benefits are delivered to communities and the people who live there,” she said. Here is her full address: H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, Let me first recognize the President of the General Assembly and the Government of Fiji for your climate leadership. Today’s special event is the latest in a long list that is your lasting legacy of leadership on this critical issue. Thank you for shining a light on vulnerability through your work in the Pacific Islands Forum and Climate Vulnerable Forum. Thank you for your bold Paris Agreement contribution of 100 per cent renewable power by 2030. Thank you for being the first to ratify the Paris Agreement. And thank you for your excellent partnership as COP 23 President in preparation of this year’s UN climate change conference. I must also express my sincere gratitude to the Secretary-General for making the connection between climate change and the sustainable development agenda and calling for an integrated approach to our challenges. Your vision of preventing future risk through stronger institutions, more resilient societies and bold action must guide every nation forward through the sometimes turbulent waters of transformative change. How far is the Paris Agreement ? One hundred and thirty-seven Member States are working towards that vision by ratifying the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This is both a crucial step towards concerted action on climate change and a step towards truly sustainable development. As the international community takes these important initial steps in this new era of implementation, we must do so with the full knowledge that the sustainable development agenda and climate change agenda are inherently linked. These challenges must be addressed in an integrated manner because there is only one on-the-ground reality. By looking at climate and sustainability holistically, we maximize the potential for positive outcomes of every action we take. And when international commitments are turned into country-level action, tangible benefits are delivered to communities and the people who live there. Implementation is the policy that meets these commitments. And we must move quickly to put this policy in place. We must bend...

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Poor plant bio-security: A threat to regional food security integration
Mar23

Poor plant bio-security: A threat to regional food security integration

   Poor plant bio-security: A threat to regional food security integration By Newton Vusa Sibanda While intra-regional agricultural trade can reduce food insecurity and be a stepping stone to industrialization, poor bio-security control capacity remains a major obstacle to trade in agricultural products, and can therefore limit income and food security of farmers, according to recent bio-security meeting. Indeed, biosecurity experts from 10 Central and East African countries met in Lusaka ( Zambia) recently for the fourth Africa Plant Biosecurity Network workshop.    Common Market The network meetings are a key component of the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership (AAPBP. It brought together African biosecurity professional fellows and industry members from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe with Australian biosecurity colleagues to share information, provide ongoing mentoring, and boost training and outreach. It also improved national and regional quarantine and plant protection capacity, thereby lifting crop yields, enabling safe regional trade, expanding international market access opportunities and securing greater food security for the region. Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya is upbeat about the prospects of regional integration and called for efforts to address constraints such as poor bio-security control capacity. Mr Ngwenya said that a key result of regional integration should be increased intra-regional trade. Intra-regional trade has indeed increased from US$3.2 billion in 2000 when the free trade area (FTA) was launched to around US$20 billion. “However, this still amounts to less than 10 percent of total trade with the world. The secretariat has done a study to show that although intra-COMESA trade is currently low, there is a potential trade worth US$82 billion,” he said. “We need to work out how to realise that enormous potential,” Mr Ngwenya added. To him, many of COMESA’s 19 member states heavily dependent on agriculture, the production and trade of agricultural produce is of high priority. “Intra-regional agricultural trade can  reduce food insecurity, so we must address constraints to this trade such as biosecurity,” Mr Ngwenya said. “Those army worms do not need visas to cross borders. As COMESA, we are trying to open borders for free movement but not in a devastating manner like army worms,” he claimed. He attributed the lower intra-regional trade to costs of non-tariff measures, including sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) or biosecurity, which he said are higher than they need to be.  COMESA is leading studies to examine the actual costs of SPS measures,  and how they can be reduced without affecting the levels of protection they are designed to provide, he recalled. Agriculture: challenges Zambia’s acting minister of Agriculture Jean Kapata said agriculture is a priority sector in Zambia as...

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Implementing climate policies by developed countries-SBI
Fév14

Implementing climate policies by developed countries-SBI

Implementing climate policies by developed countries-SBI  By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache   18 developed countries will present their achievements in implementing climate policies next May in Bonn, during the forty-sixth session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation ( SBI). According to the UNFCCC, the implementation updates involve an important preparatory stage, which includes an online question and answer period among Governments.  To this end, actions and inputs from all Parties are needed in the next few months and can be submitted via the ‘MA Portal’. Among the 18 countries that will present updates are the United States of America, France and the Russian Federation are (full list of countries can be found here)....

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To Bonn and Beyond
Fév14

To Bonn and Beyond

To Bonn and Beyond Message from the Incoming COP 23 President Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama   Maintaining  the momentum of the Paris Agreement Bula vinaka! Wherever you are the world, I convey my warmest greetings, along with the greetings of the Fijian people. Fiji assumes the Presidency of COP 23 determined to maintain the momentum of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the concerted effort to reduce carbon emissions and lower the global temperature, which was reinforced at COP 22 in Marrakesh. To use a sporting analogy so beloved in our islands, the global community cannot afford to drop the ball on the decisive response agreed to in Paris to address the crisis of global warming that we all face, wherever we live on the planet. That ball is being passed to Fiji and I intend, as the first incoming COP president from a Small Island Developing State, to run with it as hard as I can. We must again approach this year’s deliberations in Bonn as a team – every nation playing its part to combat the rising sea levels, extreme weather events and changing weather patterns associated with climate change. And I will be doing everything possible to keep the team that was assembled in Paris together and totally focused on the best possible outcome. “Our concerns are the concerns of the entire world” I intend to act as COP President on behalf of all 7.5 billion people on the planet. But I bring a particular perspective to these negotiations on behalf of some of those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – Pacific Islanders and the residents of other SIDS countries and low-lying areas of the world. Our concerns are the concerns of the entire world, given the scale of this crisis. We must work together as a global community to increase the proportion of finance available for climate adaptation and resilience building. We need a greater effort to develop products and models to attract private sector participation in the area of adaptation finance. To this end, I will be engaging closely with governments, NGOs, charitable foundations, civil society and the business community. I appeal to the entire world to support Fiji’s effort to continue building the global consensus to confront the greatest challenge of our age. We owe it not only to ourselves but to future generations to tackle this issue head on before it is too late. And I will be counting on that support all the way to Bonn and beyond....

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