Last December, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. In his official press release, the secretary-general declared, “We must not allow this to be another forgotten crisis.” Even though Typhoon Haiyan occurred three months ago, the reconstruction needed to move the country from a disaster zone to a disaster-resilient community will take years. Acknowledging this, the UN continues to urgently call for international support to keep the focus on the Philippines’ needs, as international attention shifts to other crises around the world.
The recent Social Good Summit, presented by Mashable and the United Nations Foundation, conveyed a technological call to action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) and create the post-2015 development agenda. To that end, the conference utilized the tagline and Twitter handle #2030NOW. The conference was streamed live worldwide, creating a widespread audience able to contribute to the dialogue, with forums readily available for expressing views and ideas.
“Can you imagine a future in which everybody has power? Everybody, no matter what country they live in? Can you imagine a future in which all women can actually cook with a stove, not on an open fire?” Those questions were raised by Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United NationsFramework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), during the recent Social Good Summit in New York.
A new summary of climate science and projections from a United Nations-led international panel of scientists has found it all but certain that most recent climate change has been caused by human activity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) fifth assessment of the state of knowledge on climate change is due to be finalized after closed-door negotiations in Stockholm between September 23 and 26. In mid-August, Reuters obtained a draft of the report—based on the input of hundreds of researchers over the past five years—and other copies were acquired thereafter by several other news outlets.
In early June, the United Nations held its fifth annual World Oceans Day. While many recent efforts have focused on finding ways to address the food needs of a growing human population affected by climate change, the majority of this work has revolved around terrestrial food production. Much less attention has been devoted to adapting marine food production to a new climate. Perhaps that is why this year’s World Oceans Day theme was “oceans and people.”
The insects got the most attention. But while international media focused on a new book about the potential of insects as food, which the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released on the first day of the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition, conference participants discussed how to preserve access to the myriad of other foods and services that forests provide.
In July 2010, exceptionally heavy rains flooded hundreds of thousands of agricultural acres in Pakistan. Nearly 2,000 people died. The floods came as heat waves wreaked similar havoc in Russia and Europe, and while floods swept through China. By the end of the year, 2010 had become one of the hottest years on record globally. Real-world examples of extreme, once-anomalous weather events that climate scientists had been predicting were suddenly frequent and ubiquitous, prompting a heightened sense of urgency from the United Nations, including the UN Security Council.
When representatives from countries met in Kyoto in 1997, there was cautious optimism about getting ahead of what were largely believed to be future environmental problems. Since then, ice caps have begun melting at record rates; heat waves and droughts have scorched agricultural lands; once-in-a-lifetime super storms have ravaged coasts; and in general, a new normal has emerged for the planet’s climate.
Delegates from around the world met in Doha recently for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While they discussed ways of limiting the impacts of climate change, they faced relatively low expectations and a public that, at least in many industrialized countries, appeared to have lost interest and hope in our ability to slow temperature increases. Yet new research continues to point out ways of mitigating those changes. The ability of coastal environments to absorb carbon is one such opportunity.
Uganda Stove Manufacturers got into the clean cookstove business before it was trendy. The vast majority of the country’s cooking—steaming savory bananas, boiling rice, grilling meat—is done on small, porous stoves that waste heat and leak smoke into homes. The owners of the family business, commonly called UgaStove, realized there was a market for less dangerous and wasteful cooking equipment. In 2001, they started manufacturing cleaner, more efficient versions: metal cladding painted red and orange, wrapped around a simple clay liner.