›September 11, 2013 // By ECSP Staff
The original version of this article, by Susan Moran, appeared on Ensia.
Lean and towering at 6 feet 5 inches, Ken Giller blends right into the rows of climbing beanstalks he is examining on this blisteringly hot spring day in Buhoro, a village in northern Rwanda. Local farmers who have been growing various varieties of beans bred for high yields and other desirable traits proudly show him their plots on the terraced hillside.
The demographic dividend – the idea that a decline from high to low rates of population growth can lead to dramatic economic gains – has become something of a buzzword in development circles. Sub-Saharan Africa holds the single largest block of remaining high fertility countries and while headlines tend towards the dramatic about demographic shifts there, less column space has been devoted to examining the underlying issues causing these shifts or the other changes that will be necessary for countries to benefit from them.
›August 7, 2013 // By Elizabeth Leahy Madsen
In a recent post on the new United Nations population projections, I discussed the risk in assuming that countries in sub-Saharan Africa will progress through the demographic transition at a pace similar to other regions. Making this assumption is questionable because fertility decline in Africa has generally proceeded more slowly than in other parts of the world, with several cases of “stalls” and even small fertility increases over time.
“Most of the world’s poor are farmers; they share the same profession and the same challenges,” said One Acre Fund’s Stephanie Hanson at a recent Wilson Center event on small-scale farming, climate change, food security, and migration. They are tasked with growing enough food to support their families with only tenuous access to land and natural resources, the most basic of tools, and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns to deal with. [Video Below]
Water is the foundation of human society and will become even more critical as population growth, development, and climate change put pressure on already-shrinking water resources in the years ahead. But will this scarcity fuel conflict between countries with shared waters, as some have predicted, or will it create more impetus for cooperation?
Wilson Center Premieres ‘Healthy People, Healthy Environment’ and ‘Transcending Boundaries’ at Environmental Film Festival›
Environmental security and international development aren’t typical movie-going fare, but at the 2013 DC Environmental Film Festival, ECSP premiered two short documentaries with unique environmental stories: Healthy People, Healthy Environment: Integrated Development in Tanzania shows how improving health services and environmental conservation can empower coastal communities in Africa; and Transcending Boundaries: Perspectives from the Central Albertine Rift Transfrontier Protected Area Network explores the opportunities for “peace parks” along the shared borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sub-Saharan Africa is perhaps the riskiest place for a woman to give birth. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), African women comprise approximately 56 percent of the maternal deaths and 91 percent of HIV-related maternal deaths worldwide every year. In order to bring life into this world, women in Africa literally must put their own lives on the line.
Population and Environment in Saadani National Park, and Repositioning Family Planning in Sub-Saharan Africa›
Tanzania’s Saadani National Park is a hotbed of biodiversity and, like other national parks in the region, it’s surrounded by human activity. A report by the BALANCED Project, “Population, Health, Environment Situational Analysis for the Saadani National Park Area, Tanzania,” provides a snapshot of the population, health, and environment situation inside the park to serve as a baseline for future activities of the Tanzania Coastal Management Partnership (TCMP) – a joint initiative of the government of Tanzania, USAID, and the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center. A behavioral monitoring system implemented in June 2009 used surveys that reached a total of 437 respondents (54 percent women) from eight villages to analyze the “behaviors that positively and negatively influence the utilization and condition of natural resources.” The surveys found that arable land is scarce, fisheries are being depleted, and people have inadequate access to healthcare, water, sanitation, fuel, and family planning resources. The results suggest a strong case for expanding TCMP’s existing integrated approach – combining HIV/AIDS, conservation, and livelihoods goals – to include promotion of positive behavior changes, particularly as they relate to family planning and the effects of population growth on biodiversity loss and resource depletion.
Join the Conversation
- Increasing Resilience to Climate Change Wednesday, April 23, 2014
- Aging and Security: What Can Governments Do About Falling Birth Rates? Thursday, April 17, 2014
- Cities at the Center of the World Friday, March 28, 2014
- Costs of Climate Change May Prove High for Future
- A Risk Analyst Explains Why Climate Change Risk Misperception Doesn't Necessarily Matter
- Solar Chimneys Can Convert Hot Air to Energy, But Is Funding a Mirage?
- An apple a day bodes ill for food security in Kashmir
- The Stream, April 15: El Niño Predicted for Mid-Year, Bringing Extreme Weather | Circle of Blue WaterNews