Saturday, 22 June 2013

IPS pick June 20 2013

   2013/6/20Click here for the online version of this IPS newsletter   

Somalia’s ‘Cultural Shift’ Means Less-Severe Form of FGM 
Abdurrahman Warsameh 
Seven-year-old Istar Mumin lies on a bed, motionless, in one of the rooms of her family home in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district. She has just gone through the horrifying ritual of “the cut,” which was carried out by a local Somali nurse. “I am in pain. I cannot move. They cut me,” a teary-eyed ...MORE >>

Highest Number of Refugees in Two Decades 
Fabiola Ortiz 
Yves Norodom, a 21-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo living in Brazil, is one of 45.2 million displaced people around the world – the largest number in 20 years. In its annual report Global Trends 2012: Displacement, the New 21st Century Challenge, released Wednesday, the ... MORE >>

Reconstruction of Haiti Slum to Cost Hundreds of Millions of Dollars 
Three years after its star-studded launch by President René Préval, actor Sean Penn and other Haitian and foreign dignitaries, the model “Corail-Cesselesse” camp for Haiti's 2010 earthquake victims has helped give birth to what might become the country's most expansive – and most expensive – ... MORE >>

Haiti's Earthquake Victims Try to Survive at Camp Corail 
Despite the unforgiving sun and its sweltering heat, Joel Monfiston is working, hammering a piece of worn plywood, watering flowers and picking the weeds out from between rocks and pebbles. Monfiston, a 34-year-old father and husband, is one of about 10,000 people who live in what was publicised ... MORE >>

Climate Change to Determine Economic Growth 
Amantha Perera 
The Monetary Board of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank, tasked with keeping the island’s economy on an even keel, does not only keep tabs on exchange rates, gold prices and inflation – it also has an eye on a less obvious indicator of economic stability: water levels in the country’s main ... MORE >>

Leasehold Forestry Brings a New Lease on Life 
Naresh Newar 
Nearly 300 km from Nepal’s teeming capital, Kathmandu, in a small village dug into the steep slopes of the mountainous Palpa district, 35-year-old Dhanmaya Pata goes about her daily chores in much the same way that her ancestors did centuries ago. Pata and the roughly 200 other residents in the ... MORE >>

Rebuilding Zimbabwe’s Health System 
Kristin Palitza 
A newborn baby lets out a feeble cry as midwife Anna Mungara tends to a small wound on its head, at the provincial hospital in Masvingo, a town in southeast Zimbabwe. With utmost care, Mungara cleans the cut, wraps the baby in two sets of warm blankets and makes cooing sounds to soothe him. When ... MORE >>

Job Creation Looming Challenge for Post-2015 World 
Lucy Westcott 
In the aftermath of the global economic crisis and with three years to go until the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals, global leaders are struggling to formulate a post-2015 agenda that can address the widespread dilemmas of employment and inclusive growth. At a meeting attended ...MORE >>

Hunger Persists in Latin America’s Bread Basket 
Julio Godoy 
Judging by the accolades and diplomas handed out to 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries by FAO, it would be easy to conclude that the region has taken a giant leap towards eradicating hunger. This is the benign face of the fight against hunger in Latin America, together with the strong ... MORE >>

Rural Mexican Communities Protest Wind Farms 
Emilio Godoy 
"We can't sow our fields, which they have rented for next to nothing. What good do we get out of it?" Guadalupe Ramírez complained about wind farms operating in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Ramírez said, "the governments play favourites with big business; our land produces more than ... MORE >>

Entrepreneurs Seek Way Out of Crisis in Spain 
Inés Benítez 
The people in the textile factory where Lourdes Soler presented the design of her skirts had never seen such detailed “blueprints” of a garment. Spain’s depressed labour market forced the technical architect to reinvent herself and create her own job – a growing trend in this crisis-stricken ... MORE >>

Redoubling Efforts Against Racism in Cuba 
Patricia Grogg 
Jokes, songs, crude gestures and epithets that degrade people of African descent are still common in Cuba, despite the fact that the constitution prohibits discrimination based on skin colour, and in spite of more recent political measures, activists say. According to Esther Ruiz, a member of ...MORE >>

Women's Time Has Come 
Claudia Ciobanu 
Closing the gender gap between women and men on agriculture and food security could free over one hundred million people from hunger.  Women represent 43 percent of the global agricultural workforce yet they have access to disproportionately less land and productive resources, according to FAO’s ... MORE >>

Corruption Eats Into India’s Food Distribution System 
Ranjit Devraj 
As India’s Parliament prepares to pass a bill to provide heavily subsidised food to 810 million people, there are misgivings over its implementation through a notoriously corrupt public distribution system (PDS). The National Food Security Bill will be debated and passed at a specially convened ...MORE >>

MDGs Fund Boosts Food Security 
Thalif Deen 
Since its founding in 2007 to help developing nations fight poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease and gender discrimination, the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) has financed about 130 joint programmes in 50 countries. Regina Gallego of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), ... MORE >>

OP-ED: Social Protection Can Help Overcome Poverty and Hunger
Jomo Kwame Sundaram 
The growing consensus, momentum and commitment to eradicate world hunger may seem overly ambitious in view of the slow progress in reducing the number of hungry people in the world in recent decades. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant-Director General for Economic and Social Development, FAO. ... MORE >>

Stealing Gas from the Poor to Power the Rich 
Thembi Mutch 
In Kilwa District in southern Tanzania local community leader and fisherman Salim Riziki stands next to a set of turbines, newly imported from Dubai, talking about the gas finds on Songo Songo, an island 15 km off the mainland. The whirring sounds and lights from the turbines are in stark ...MORE >>

Ending Hunger Is Possible 
Claudia Ciobanu 
Thirty-eight countries were recognised for the first time on Sunday by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation for cutting in half the prevalence of people suffering from undernourishment, one of three targets under the first Millennium Development Goal. Of those countries, 18 also achieved ...MORE >>

Small Ponds Bring Bumper Harvests 
Naimul Haq 
“I would never have believed it possible to get a bumper rice harvest during the drought season,” 43-year-old Mohammad Shajahan Ali, a farmer hailing from the village of Magtapur in Bangladesh’s northern Chapainawabganj district, told IPS. Yet this is exactly what he has got. Leading a proud ...MORE >>

Examining the Depths of Ethiopia’s Corruption 
Ed McKenna 
Ethiopia may be one of the fastest-growing, non-oil producing economies in Africa in recent years, but corruption in this Horn of Africa nation is a deterrent to foreign investors looking for stable long-term partnerships in developing countries. “Bankers, miners and developers presenting ... MORE >>

Award Spotlights Indian Women Helping Women 
Stella Paul 
Jassiben, a self-employed potter from Nana Shahpur village in western India, loves summer despite the heat waves and frequent power cuts, because summer days always mean great business. “Poor people like us do not have refrigerators, so they store drinking water in the earthen pots that keep the ... MORE >>

Small Farmers Buffeted by Climate Change 
Thalif Deen 
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has long warned that a quarter of the world’s farmland is “highly degraded". The main culprits are natural disasters, including droughts, floods and desertification. These pressures have now reached critical levels, with climate change expected to ... MORE >>

In Swaziland, Seeds Beat Drought 
Mantoe Phakathi 
The overcast sky is a sign that it might rain, and Happy Shongwe, a smallholder farmer from rural Maphungwane in eastern Swaziland, is not exactly happy. Inside a roofless structure made of cement blocks sit different types of legumes – peanuts, jugo beans, mung beans, cow peas and ground nuts – ... MORE >>

No Quick Fixes to Sorcery-Related Violence 
Catherine Wilson 
Following worldwide outrage over a spate of brutal sorcery-related murders in Papua New Guinea, the government has rolled out a new hard-line approach to spiralling crime in this southwest Pacific island state. Repeal of the much-criticised 1971 Sorcery Act means that sorcery-related killings ...MORE >>

Sowing a Healthier Future 
Claudia Ciobanu 
“If there was enough political will to defeat hunger, we would defeat it right now - immediately,” says Enrique Yeves, chief of corporate communications at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). “It is a scandal that in the 21st century there are still people that suffer from hunger ... MORE >>

Former War Zone Craves Democracy 
Amantha Perera 
For the first time since Sri Lanka’s 30-year-long civil conflict drew to a bloody finish in May 2009, casting an eerie hush over the Northern Province that had grown accustomed to the sounds of war, there is a buzz in the air generated by the prospect of provincial elections that hold the promise ... MORE >>

Keeping Food Security Central to U.N.'s Post-2015 Agenda 
Thalif Deen 
As the United Nations prepares to launch an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, the message from one of its Rome-based agencies is unequivocal: the eradication of hunger and malnutrition should remain a high priority when the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) end in 2015. In its ... MORE >>

Indian Farmers Flex Collective Muscles 
Stella Paul 
Chelmet Padmamma, 42, of Babanagar village in southern India’s drought-prone Medak district, is a happy woman: the rain has come earlier this year, thrice soaking the three-acre farm that she co-owns with four other women from her village. “This is a dry area and we are dependent on rain. Now ...MORE >>

Q&A: Of Riots and Rice in Africa 
Busani Bafana 
Thanks to food riots in several African cities fuelled by high rice prices between 2007 and 2008, sub-Saharan Africa is growing and eating more rice after governments were forced into ambitious production programmes. Rice is the third most important source of dietary energy in sub-Saharan ...MORE >>

Zimbabwean Farmers Adrift Amid Power Struggles 
Busani Bafana 
For the past five years, farmer Melusi Mhlanga has spent nearly 200 dollars each season for inputs, but the maize yields have not matched his investment.  "With good rains I have been able to get more than 20 bags from my two hectare field but now I barely manage 10 bags," says Mhlanga, who spoke ... MORE >>

The “Secret Treasure” of Food Waste 
Claudia Ciobanu 
Twenty-nine-year-old Andrzej W. and his partner lived for almost a year off of food found in the trash bin of the upscale supermarket Piotr i Pawel in Muranow, a neighbourhood near the centre of the Polish capital Warsaw. And they ate in style. “I can hardly name now the expensive cheeses and ...MORE >>

Kenyans Mobilise Against Taxing the Poor 
Zahra Moloo 
On a side street in Nairobi’s bustling neighbourhood of Shauri Moyo, Faisal Ngila shouts to street vendors, motorbike taxi drivers and pedestrians. “Do you know taxes are increasing in Kenya?” he asks, handing out flyers urging Kenyans to say “no to Unga (maize flour) tax” by dialling a phone ... MORE >>

India Goes Bananas Over GM Crops 
Ranjit Devraj 
India’s environmental and food security activists who have so far succeeded in stalling attempts to introduce genetically modified (GM) food crops into this largely farming country now find themselves up against a bill in parliament that could criminalise such opposition. 3The Biotechnology ... MORE >>

Q&A: Impact Assessment Key in Rural Development Projects 
Marianela Jarroud 
The Latin American Centre for Rural Development (RIMISP) is promoting a method for assessing strategies, results, reach and impact of IFAD-funded agricultural projects targeting vulnerable groups in the region. RIMISP’s project on assessing poverty and inequality in rural Latin America is ...MORE >>

Is the 2030 Goal for Hunger Eradication Realistic? 
Thalif Deen 
With less than three years before a 2015 deadline, the developing world is largely expected to miss one of the U.N.'s key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger. Despite limited progress, there are still more than 1.4 billion people ... MORE >>

Read more IPS reporting on Poverty & MDGs here.

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