Zika Virus Prompts El Salvador and Others to Discourage Pregnancy – What Are the Potential Consequences?›
The government of El Salvador took a truly extraordinary step in an attempt to control the rapidly spreading Zika virus last week by asking its citizens to avoid getting pregnant from now until 2018. Yes, you read that right.
Fire needs oxygen to burn. When a fire starts inside a building, the floors, ceilings, walls, doors, and windows can constrict the flow of air. Breaking in to fight the fire thus carries the risk of opening a new airway. If that happens, a smoldering fire can expand explosively, bursting into roaring flames as it sucks air in through the new passageway. This sudden inrush of air to fuel a burst of fire has a name: backdraft.
High mountain regions face grave environmental challenges with climate change impacts already as severe as any place on earth. Temperature increases are expected to be greater at higher altitudes than at sea level, and glaciers and snowfields are retreating in many areas, increasing the risk of catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods, affecting fresh water supplies for hundreds of millions of people, and exacerbating territorial and natural resource disputes.
Feminized Development in Latin America: Understanding the Confluence of Gender Equity and Cultural Tensions›
Historically, the concept of “water wars” – inter-state wars fought solely over water – has been fairly unsubstantiated. But continued population growth, accelerating development, and environmental changes are making water more scarce and in turn increasing the chances of related tensions and violence. To illustrate the growing role water plays in tensions around the world, Al Jazeera has put together a map linked to a series of stories they’ve done on water “flashpoints.”
The United Nations biannual population projections are some of the most (if not the most) widely used numbers in demography. Researchers and policymakers alike rely on the figures to plan for present and future challenges. But few consider the story behind the statistics. Where does the data come from? The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently released a short documentary on conducting censuses in challenging environments, with a spotlight on Indonesia, Chad, the Palestinian Territories, Belarus, and Bolivia.
›Climate change is expected to produce winners and losers – for example, melting ice-caps may open up new economic opportunities for Greenland at the same time as sea-level rise threatens Asia’s bourgeoning coastal mega-cities. The same can be said about plans to address climate change, from both the mitigation and adaptation perspectives. A special issue of Global Environmental Change, “Adding Insult to Injury: Climate Change, Social Stratification, and the Inequalities of Intervention,” takes on this topic, with two case studies providing particularly compelling evidence.
The REDD Menace: Resurgent Protectionism in Tanzania’s Mangrove Forests,” that efforts to ensure REDD readiness in Tanzania have placed local communities at risk of forced evictions, shattered livelihoods, and persecution by both the state and conservation community. Contrary to dominant narratives that “portray local resources users, the Warufiji, in negative terms as recent migrants who are destroying the mangrove forests,” the authors say that they in fact depend upon “allow[ing] the mangroves to regenerate naturally while preparing new rice fields.” “To carbon traders, however, an uninhabited forest greatly simplifies the logistical tasks of monitoring and paying for ecosystem services,” assert the authors. This has resulted in declaration of local communities as squatters, illegally invading the forest. Government officials have repeatedly voiced threats of eviction. As well as increasing the potential for social tension, the study concludes that, “it is difficult to reconcile Tanzania REDD’s participatory and benefit sharing goals with the rhetoric, practices, and plans of the Tanzanian state.”
Accessing Adaptation: Multiple Stressors on Livelihoods in the Bolivian Highlands Under a Changing Climate,” Julia McDowell and Jeremy Hess present evidence about how specifically-tailored adaptations to climate change risk increasing vulnerability to a complex web of other, less obvious stressors. The study draws evidence from the livelihoods of historically marginalized indigenous farmers in highland Bolivia. The authors, who see “adaptation as part of ongoing livelihoods strategies,” use the case to “explore the tradeoffs that households make when adjustments to one stressor compromise the ability to adjust to another.” For instance, socio-economic stressors have forced many farmers to more closely couple their livelihoods with the market economy by growing more cash crops, intensifying land use, participating in off-farm laboring, and relying on irrigated agriculture. However, the shift to more market-orientated livelihoods has also increased their sensitivity to climatic stress. “As stressors compounded, the ability to mobilize assets became constrained, making adaptation choices highly interdependent, and sometimes contradictory,” the authors write. Avoiding these sorts of lose-lose situations, requires “ensuring sustained access to assets, rather than designing interventions solely to protect against a specific stressor.”
›Download Reducing Urban Poverty: A New Generation of Ideas from the Wilson Center.
In 2008 the global population reached a remarkable turning point; for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s people were living in cities. Moving forward into the 21st century, the world faces an unprecedented urban expansion with projections for the global urban population to reach nearly five billion by the year 2030. Virtually all of this growth will occur in the developing world where cities gain an average of five million residents every month, overwhelming ecosystems and placing tremendous pressure on the capacity of local governments to provide necessary infrastructure and services. Failure to incorporate urban priorities into the global development agenda carries serious implications for human security, global security, and environmental sustainability.
Recognizing a need to develop and strengthen urban-focused practitioner and policymaking ties with academia, and disseminate evidence-based development programming, the Wilson Center’s Comparative Urban Studies Project, USAID’s Urban Programs Team, the International Housing Coalition, the World Bank, and Cities Alliance teamed up to co-sponsor an academic paper competition for graduate students studying urban issues. The first competition took place in the months leading up to the 5th World Urban Forum, held in Rio de Janeiro in March 2010.
This publication, Reducing Urban Poverty: A New Generation of Ideas, marks the second annual academic paper competition. “Reducing urban poverty” was chosen as the theme with each author focusing on one of three topics: land markets and security of tenure; health; and, livelihoods. A panel of urban experts representing the sponsoring institutions reviewed 70 submitted abstracts, from which 16 were invited to write full length papers. Of these, six were selected for this publication. We congratulate the graduate students who participated in this competition for their contribution to our understanding of the complex relationship between urbanization and poverty.
These papers highlight the new research and innovative thinking of the next generation of urban planners, practitioners, and policymakers. It is our hope that by infusing the dialogue on these issues between the academic and policy worlds with fresh perspectives, we will foster new and innovative strategies to reduce global urban poverty.
Sources: UNFPA, UN-HABITAT.
Join the Conversation
- Next Deadline for George F. Kennan Fellowship Competition Approaching Tuesday, March 1, 2016
- Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War Thursday, February 11, 2016
- Galina Starovoitova Fellowship on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution 2016-17 Wednesday, February 10, 2016
- HEALTH: Experts praise Zika funding but call for climate research -- Tuesday, February 9, 2016 -- www.eenews.net
- Ghana’s gold diggers: Land and rivers laid to waste - SciDev.Net
- Brazil's National School Feeding Program Evolution | Pulitzer Center
- The Stream, February 9: Sea Level Rise Will Last Thousands of Years, Study Finds | Circle of Blue WaterNews
- Zika, disease of the poor, may not change abortion in Brazil | Reuters