›The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) has created an interactive Google map that highlights population, health, and environmental programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) Map shows the locations of projects that combine improved health services, sustainable natural resource management, and ecosystem conservation.
According to PRB’s Maura Graff and Jason Bremner, “the map aims to give viewers both a sense of the scale of current PHE integration efforts, and specific information about individual organizations, projects, and their location.”
Clicking on a marker will reveal the title of a PHE program, a short description of its goals and outcomes, a link to its website, and the occasional picture of the project in action. A list on the left alphabetically catalogs all the projects based on region.
The map also provides the opportunity for those working on PHE projects in the field to find nearby projects in order to share experiences. For example, in Ethiopia, Population Media Center and DSW’s Youth to Youth could share lessons learned about disseminating information on the reduction of female genital mutilation, the importance of providing family planning services to young married couples, and the linkage between reduced family size and enhanced stewardship of social and natural resources.
Communities that understand how population, health, and environment are intertwined are more engaged and energized to make a difference. In a video interview with ECSP, Roger-Mark De Souza, director of foundation and corporate relations at the Sierra Club, explains that PHE projects are so effective because solutions to a community’s liked problems demand this logical integration. For example, while learning about the health benefits of birth spacing, father and mothers also learn how their family planning decisions can improve the economic and environmental prospects of the community.
Just like PHE projects themselves, the map is a work in progress; PRB is seeking to add PHE projects that are still active or ended after 2005. Please contact Maura Graff if you would like to add a project.
Josephine Kim is a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and an intern with the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program.
›July 30, 2010 // By Schuyler NullNatural resource management is a critical component of the peacebuilding process according to a new report from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The report, presented to the UN Security Council and General Assembly this month, is a follow-up to last year’s presentation by the Secretary-General’s office on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.
The Secretary-General singles out the 2009 UN Environment Programme (UNEP) study “From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Environment and Natural Resources” for demonstrating the recent links between land use, natural resources, frequency of conflict, and conflict relapse. The Secretary-General writes:
44. I wish to highlight two areas of increasing concern where greater efforts will be needed to deliver a more effective United Nations response. First, natural resources: a recent study by the United Nations Environment Programme concluded that 40 per cent of internal conflicts over a 60-year period were associated with land and natural resources, and that this link doubles the risk of conflict relapse in the first five years. Efforts have been made to draw early attention to these risks and to improve inter-agency coordination to address them, including by strengthening national capacity to prevent disputes over land and natural resources, as described in paragraph 31 above. Examples include programmes in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and the Sudan, where coordination among several United Nations entities addressing land and natural resource management has demonstrated the importance of an inclusive approach. In order to further deliver on the ground I call on Member States and the United Nations system to make questions of natural resource allocation, ownership and access an integral part of peacebuilding strategies.ECSP Director Geoff Dabelko calls the inclusion of this language “an important step towards integrating environmental issues into broader UN peacebuilding efforts and providing critical top-level political support for this integration effort.”
UNEP’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch (PCDMB) has been working to support a variety of UN bodies on integrating environment and natural resources into the peacebuilding process. Recent PCDMB efforts have been based in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, the DRC, and Sudan. New Security Beat asked UNEP PCDMB’s Director of Policy and Planning David Jensen to reflect on the new report via email:
I’m thrilled to finally see that after over 10 years of work by UNEP and a variety of other organizations and scholars, these issues have finally been recognized at the highest political level. There is no longer any doubt that the mismanagement of natural resources can be a key factor in contributing to violent conflict. At the same time, the very recognition that environmental issues and natural resources can contribute to violent conflict underscores their potential significance as pathways for cooperation, transformation, and the consolidation of peace in war-torn societies.As Jensen writes in ECSP Report 13, “If people cannot find clean water for drinking, wood for shelter and energy, or land for crops, what are the chances that peace will be successful and durable? Very slim.”
Last fall, Jensen predicted the UN was finally approaching a fundamental tipping point for inclusion of natural resource issues in the broader peacebuilding process, and the Secretary-General appears to have proven him right.
Photo Credit: “Secretary-General Addresses General Assembly,” courtesy of flickr user United Nations Photo.
Interview With Wilson Center Scholar Margaret Wamuyu Muthee: Envisioning a New Future for Kenya’s Next Generation›July 29, 2010 // By Wilson Center StaffMargaret Wamuyu Muthee, an Africa Program Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, about this problem. Muthee is currently working on a project documenting both the opportunities and challenges for young people growing up in Kenya.
New Security Beat: How do you define youth?
Margaret Wamuyu Muthee: The African Union has defined youth as every person between the ages of 15 to 35 years, while the United Nations defines youth as persons between the ages of 15 and 24. I will be concentrating on the age group defined by the African Union.NSB: What are some opportunities and challenges facing youth in Kenya?
However, I will not only be relying on age. There are other aspects that I must take into consideration. Many children assume the roles of an adult or a care-taker when they are at an early age. Children in African nations face different challenges [compared to children in Western countries], as there are fewer opportunities for transition in Africa.
MWM: This is a very important stage for exposing youth to the available support and teaching them about the social economy. Some of the difficulties lie in the lack of resources and corruption, such as misuse of funds that are provided to the government by outside sources.NSB: Which programs are taking actions to empower youth in Kenya?
On a more positive outlook, youth are very resilient. They have a wide range of potential and capacity that can be utilized right away. African nations, just like China, have an enormous population that can be a human resource. All we have to do is positively tap into their potential to make good changes.
MWM: The Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) works to increase economic opportunities for Kenyan youth in nation-building through enterprise development. YEDF also works to lower the unemployment rate and teach certain skills for future employment. One downside of this fund is that even though it provides money, it does not provide mentorship for the youth who execute the programs.NSB: Are these programs enough to address youth challenges?
Another program is Yes Youth Can! This $45 million initiative was created by the U.S. ambassador to Kenya and USAID. The program is designed to create local and national networks of youth leaders to advocate peaceful economic and governmental reforms. The wonderful thing about this organization is that it is completely youth-driven.
MWM: Sometimes these programs are seen as too small and too late. Youth are seen as violent, and these programs are made to keep them busy. Programs need to address all the facts, from start to finish.NSB: Are there programs specifically targeted at female youth?
MWM: We need programs that address pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, and education for young women. These education programs not only need to teach them about pregnancies and HIV/AIDS, but also educate women about their rights: how to say “no” and object to certain actions.NSB: Are family planning and reproductive health incorporated into youth education?
However, there are complications when it comes to female rights. There are sexual offense laws that females do not even know about. The implementation of these laws can be non-existent. Either the police system is flawed or accessing lawyers is too expensive for females. And even if a lawyer is hired, the rapist can pay off a judge, so the judge will not convict him.
MWM: There are already reproductive health campaigns in Kenya. One example is the ABC program: Abstinence, Be faithful, Condom use. Everyone these days, in rural and urban environments, knows about HIV/AIDS. There needs to be more programs regarding family planning and health; there is only a limited amount of knowledge getting passed around about those two issues.Margaret Wamuyu Muthee is the Programs Manager for Kenya’s University of Nairobi Center for Human Rights and Peace, and a current scholar in the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Africa Program.
There is a new proposed Kenyan constitution that bans abortion unless a doctor permits the abortion due to health reasons, or if the mother’s health is in critical danger. Many females die because they cannot legally get an abortion and try to abort their baby on their own, or accept services from a backstreet clinic.
We also have cultural practices that put up barriers to the spread of family planning and health. One such example is the practice of early female marriages. Girls as young as 10 years old will be forced to marry a much older man. These girls have not had proper education on reproductive health or family planning.
In addition, adults are still too shy to address youth that are having sex, and are embarrassed to talk about their health if they have HIV/AIDS. We need to educate more youth and provide the means for them to live safer lives.
Josephine Kim and Marie Hokenson are cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point and interns with the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program.
Photo Credit: “The Mentees and their mentors,” used courtesy of flickr user The Advocacy Project.›July 29, 2010 // By Kayly OberNew York Times ran an article about the many threats converging on Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve. “There’s traffickers, cattle ranchers, loggers, poachers and looters,” Richard D. Hansen, an American archaeologist, told NYT. “All the bad guys are lined up to destroy the reserve. You can’t imagine the devastation that is happening.”
Eric Olson, senior associate of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, agrees that drug trafficking is a major problem in the Petén, a region of northern Guatemala that lies within the Biosphere. “Petén’s isolation has made it possible for the biodiversity of the area to survive and thrive during periods of great social turmoil, especially in the 1980s,” Olson told the New Security Beat. “However, the isolation also makes it an ideal place for drug traffickers to move their illegal product northward.”
According to NYT, peasant squatters in search of farmland constitute an additional threat because they “often become pawns of the drug lords,” and, in some instances, “function as an advance guard for the drug dealers, preventing the authorities from entering, warning of intrusions, and clearing land that the drug gangs ultimately take over.”
Plus, the situation seems poised to worsen. According to a UNESCO report, Petén’s population has surged from 25,000 during the 1970s to upwards of 500,000 today. This growth, coupled with an attendant rise in subsistence farming, has had significant environmental impacts across the region.
Population Growth in Protected Areas
“Population has a huge impact on Guatemala’s ecological diversity,” David López-Carr, an associate professor in the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Geography Department, wrote in an e-mail to the New Security Beat. Most striking, according to López-Carr, are total fertility rates in rural areas, which remain “over 5 and much higher still – higher than 6 – in the most remote rural areas where ecological diversity is highest.”
Despite the fact that most migrants move to Guatemala City, smaller cities, or the United States, López-Carr wrote that the “tiny fraction (probably under 5%) that move to remote rural areas have a major impact on biodiversity and forest conversion.” López-Carr pointed out that “in core conservation areas of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, in-migration has swelled the population in some regions by nearly 10% annually during the past two decades.”
At a 2008 meeting at the Woodrow Wilson Center, professors Justin Brashares and George Wittemyer said three factors drive population growth near protected areas in Africa and Latin America: 1) more money for parks (as measured by protected-area funds from the Global Environment Facility); 2) more park employees; and 3) more deforestation on the edges of protected areas.
To avoid population pitfalls, Guatemala’s President Alvaro Colom should take this research into account before putting his “Cuatro Balam” eco-tourism plan into action. The initiative—named for the four main figures in the Mayan creation myth—seeks to divide the reserve into an archaeological park in the north and an agricultural zone in the south, while setting up a Maya studies center for scholars and installing an $8 million electric mini-train to shuttle tourists through the reserve.
The Perils of “Pristine Conservation”
While President Colom’s plan is certainly ambitious, communities in Petén are cautious. They see Cuatro Balam as a continuation of earlier government-funded projects, where “pristine conservation” – oft-touted by large conservation organizations – prohibited human interaction with the forests and limited socioeconomic opportunities for local populations.
Liza Grandia, an anthropology professor at Clark University who has lived and worked in the Peten region, points out in Conservation and Society that “primary” or “pristine” forests flagged as biological hotspots by these conservation organizations are likely remnants of ancient Mayan agroforestry. However, Mayan descendents are not allowed to live within nor manage these areas.
Instead, stewardship of many federal parks is delegated to large conservation outfits or the government. But Rosa Maria Chan, director of ProPeten, a community-based environmental organization, wrote in an e-mail to the New Security Beat that “the environment is not always the government’s priority,” adding that “development” normally signifies large infrastructure projects, instead of smaller-scale ideas that would better address human development.
The Benefits of Community-Based Conservation
One successful local project is the Association of the Forest Community of Péten (ACOFOP), a community-based association made up of 23 indigenous and farming organizations. Under ACOFOP’s direction, uncontrolled settlement in the biosphere reserve has been stopped, communities have ceased the conventional slash-and-burn practices, and forest fires have virtually ceased in community-managed areas. ACOFOP’s projects have also created jobs in local communities, where the beneficiaries re-invest their earnings into collective infrastructure.
In the mid-1990s/early 2000s, ProPeten’s Remedios I and II programs, funded mainly by USAID, used radio soap operas and mobile theaters to educate residents about conservation, reproductive health, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture. Underlying these programs’ success was an unprecedented survey that gathered data on the rapidly changing population-environment dynamics in this frontier region.
Grandia, who served as head of ProPeten’s board of directors from 2003-2005, writes in 2004 Wilson Center article that “the integrated DHS [Demographic and Health Survey] has been a critical part of developing…programs linking health and population with the environment,” which lowered Petén’s total fertility rate from 6.8 to 5.8 children per woman in just four years. Plans are underway to include a similar environmental module in the next DHS survey.
Although the fate of Guatemala’s forests is subject to many outside forces, from the government’s development plans to the cartel’s smuggling operations, small-scale, community-based programs may have the best shot at transforming the drivers of deforestation into sustainable, economic development opportunities.
Photo Credit: “Keel-billed Toucan at Tikal National Park, Guatemala,” courtesy of flickr user jerryoldenettel.›Watch below or on MHz Worldview
In the aftermath of Haiti’s 7.0 earthquake, the world turned its attention to the impoverished and devastated island nation (including the New Security Beat, which covered some its demographic problems). Reporters, relief workers, and volunteers from around the globe rushed to provide coverage and aide. Western leaders announced bold blueprints for building a “new Haiti.” Six months later, only a tiny portion of pledged funds have been delivered, over one million Haitians remain homeless, and much of the country’s infrastructure remains in ruins. This week on dialogue, host John Milewski speaks with Donna Leinwand of USA Today and Sheri Fink, Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center, on their experiences working and reporting in Haiti after the devastation. Scheduled for broadcast starting July 21st, 2010 on MHz Worldview channel.
Donna Leinwand is a reporter for the nation’s top-selling newspaper, USA Today. She’s been with the paper since 2000, covering legal issues, major crimes, the Justice Department, terrorism, and natural disasters. She is also a past president of the National Press Club. Sheri Fink is a senior fellow with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, a staff reporter for Pro Publica, and is a public policy scholar at the Wilson Center. She was awarded a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for her investigative piece on doctors at a hospital cut off by Hurricane Katrina flood waters.
Note: A QuickTime plug-in may be required to launch the video.›July 28, 2010 // By Marie HokensonAt the recent International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, an astonishing development in the campaign to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS was unveiled—a microbicide with the ability to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV. This welcome development coincides with an intensified focus on women’s health and security needs among donors, especially the United States.
At the conference, the “Gender Programming and Practices: Practical Approaches with HIV and AIDS” session took an integrated approach, examining the links between gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS infection. Women are more vulnerable to gender-based violence and HIV infection than men, particularly in parts of sub-Saharan Africa where “girls and women aged 15 to 19 are three times more likely” to become infected with HIV than men in the same age group, according to the World Bank.
Michelle Moloney-Kitts, with the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, said that gender-based violence “affects not only public health, but [also] the ability of women and girls to contribute to developing their countries.” Since women play integral roles in supporting their families and communities in developing nations, their absence or weakened capacity due to HIV infection, injuries, or unwanted pregnancy can have larger repercussions for economic development and community health.
Deep Roots: Changing Minds About Gender-Based Violence
Elizabeth Mataka, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for AIDS in Africa, described the obstacles facing female victims of gender-based violence as “deep-rooted social, economic, legal, and cultural affairs” in their communities. Mataka asserted that “communities must be engaged” through a “change in mindset” in order to allow these women to “claim their basic human rights.” Scrutinizing the paucity of women’s organizations, she cited a “serious shortage of women’s leadership at the grassroots level” as a problem that must be overcome to empower and protect women.
Pamela Barnes, a co-leader of the Partnership to End Sexual Violence Against Girls, highlighted the extent of this “deep-rooted societal issue.” She pointed out that a 2007 Swaziland study found the most “common venue for sexual violence was…within the homes of the victims.”
Rui Bastos, representing Mozambique’s Ministry of Health, added that there is a pressing need to “change relationships between men and women,” and called for a shift in the current relationship dynamic to “give power to the women.” Noting the low number of men receiving HIV treatment, he called on men to “increase demand in treatment” in order to stem the spread of the disease.
Silent Voices: Talking About Sexual Violence Against Minors
Since the Swaziland survey found that “30 percent of the respondents indicated that they had experienced some form of sexual violence prior to the age of 15,” Barnes said greater efforts must be made to educate children about how to protect themselves from sexual violence. She added that efforts to protect children should also address other “risk factors for abuse [which] include lack of education, exposure to emotional abuse, and witnessing sexual assault.”
At a recent Wilson Center event on sexual violence against minors, Jama Gulaid of UNICEF Swaziland said that while talking about sexuality is not easy, “when you bring in violence it is even more difficult.” For that reason, Gulaid said, “you have to do two things—you have to share information and you have to present it in certain ways.” He explained that Swaziland was addressing the issue by relying on school-based interventions, which include trained community-child protection groups, toll-free telephone lines, case investigation services, and personal counseling.
Prevention First: Scaling Up to Stop Rape
While the new microbicide might help female victims of sexual violence avoid HIV infection, it will not stop the problem of gender-based violence. That is why Moloney-Kitts called on donors and NGOs to “scale up gender-based violence programs,” but in a way that goes beyond simply improving “post-rape care” and instead places greater emphasis on prevention efforts.
Not only would better rape prevention help reduce HIV and STD infection rates, but it would also help women avoid psychological damage and unwanted pregnancies—and, as Moloney-Kitts pointed out, improve economic development and enhance public health at the same time.
For more on gender-based violence, see these Wilson Center events:
- Gender-Based Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Demographic and Health Survey Findings and Their Use in National Planning
- From Relief to Development: Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Conflict and Post-Conflict Contexts
- Dynamics Of Sexual Violence In The Eastern Democratic Republic Of Congo: Perpetrators, Community Response, and Policy Implications
Photo Credit: “Congo Kivu Violences Panzi,” used courtesy of flickr user andré thiel.›July 28, 2010 // By Wilson Center StaffDawn:
ON Jan 15, 2006, the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) inaugurated its new fountain – the Rs320m lighted harbour structure that spews seawater hundreds of feet into the air.
Also on this day – as on most others in Karachi – several million gallons of the city’s water supply were lost to leakage, some hundred million gallons of raw sewage oozed into the sea, and scores of Karachiites failed to secure clean water.
Over the next few years, the fountain jet would produce a powerful and relentless stream of water high above Karachi. Meanwhile, down below, tens of thousands of the city’s masses would die from unsafe water.
After several fountain parts were stolen in 2008, the KPT quickly made the necessary repairs and re-launched what it deems “an extravaganza of light and water”.
In an era of rampant resource shortages, boasting about such extravagance demonstrates questionable judgment. So, too, does the willingness to lavish millions of rupees on a giant water fountain, and then to repair it fast and furiously – while across Karachi and the nation as a whole, drinking water and sanitation projects are heavily underfunded and water infrastructure stagnates in disrepair.
Continue reading on Dawn.
For more on Pakistan’s water crisis, see the Wilson Center report, “Running on Empty.”
Photo Credit: Adapted from UN map of South Asia, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.›“Copenhagen was many things to many people,” said Chatham House’s Cleo Paskal, in a video interview with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, but “what was very clear was that India, specifically, was playing quite a strong, clear role in deciding how alignments would be working.” We spoke to Paskal following her presentation at a recent Wilson Center event.
“I think [Copenhagen] was a bit of a litmus test for how geopolitics stand currently, and what’s clear is that unless India is treated more as an equal strategic, long-term partner of the West, it will find other alliances that are more conducive to what it perceives as state security and its national interests,” said Paskal. She argued that India’s future steps will also heavily influence Brazil and South Africa, and may impact the ability of the West to act unilaterally.
“If the U.S.-India relationship grows, you’ll start to see more movement in areas like Copenhagen or the WTO or things like that,” says Paskal, but “if [the U.S.-India relationship] starts to break down…you might start to see a growing relationship with China.”
Stay tuned to the New Security Beat for more in our series on “Backdraft: The Conflict Potential of Climate Adaptation and Mitigation.”
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