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1% for the Planet One Percent for the Planet
“The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.” –Senator Gaylord Nelson

Formed in 2002, a growing network of businesses has been committed to giving 1% of their sales to improving the ecology of the planet. As businesses have aligned themselves with the vision of 1% for the Planet and joined the growing network of businesses of all sizes, their self- and net-worth have risen.

In addition to getting companies to commit to giving back, 1% for the Planet has also organized the music outreach program. Musicians such as Jack Johnson, G. Love, Submarines, Kaiser Cartel, Josh Ritter and many others contribute to the project. The collaboration of 1% for the Planet and the musicians led to an album featuring many exclusive or rare versions of songs. Sales of the album support NGOs work on environmental issues. Jack Johnson was the first huge hit for 1% for the Planet, which fueled the explosion of the 1% network.

The 1% for the Planet network is 1,400 businesses in 38 countries giving $15 million annually to 2,000 global environmental groups. Companies join to gain the network, recognition and morality of the group. Once the business signs the licensing agreement and membership dues are paid, they are free to use the 1% logo. The logo is similar to a certification of environmentally sustainable business practices. However, the 1% group does not look into the practices of the business.

1% does not collect money, other than the membership dues, from the companies. The member companies donate directly to the environmental group of their choice. Recipients are chosen from the list of approved 501(c)(3) organizations (or internationally equivalent) with a high degree of successful projects. The preservation of the Madison River in Montana. 1% donations prevented the famous angler river from being developed by real-estate. This project was initiated by the first two members of the 1% business network: Yvon Chouinard owner of Patagonia Inc and Craig Matthews owner of Blue Ribbon Flies. Other businesses that are members include Cliff Bars, Sweat Pea Bicycles, New Belgium Brewing Co. Chickamaw Organic Farm Ranch and Wildlife, 3 Forks Insurance, 5AM (Japan), 7zerolab (The Netherlands), 8Bottles and many, many more.

Katherine Zobre

Photo: 1% for the Planet

farmerpicture
To continue to advance U.S. efforts to fight hunger, USAID has signed an agreement with global company Syngenta International AG. The agreement will seek to increase food security and reduce hunger in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  The agreement will go to support farmers.  According to USAID, each night, around 870 million people around the world go to bed hungry and Syngenta is joining the fight to reduce those numbers.  Their partnership in the fight will help to increase the adoption of innovative technologies and create mechanisms for crop insurance.

The USAID and Syngenta agreement will allow both groups to reach the impoverished and malnourished across three different continents in joint efforts to end global poverty.  USAID and Syngenta will work together in research and development and capacity building. They will work together and with scientists, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and other donors. This commitment advances the goals set by Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

As previously announced, Syngenta will invest over $500 million in Africa alone to help farmers adopt new technology to increase their yields. With 27,000 employees in 90 countries, Syngenta is truly a global company that is making a global impact. Part of their mission is to bring plant potential to life through science while protecting the environment and improving health and quality of life. Syngenta hopes to ignited change in farm productivity worldwide through the partnership.

Feed the Future is part of this global effort and supports countries as they develop their own agriculture sectors to increase economic growth and trade. In 2012, more than 7 million food producers were helped through Feed the Future. The USAID and Syngenta partnership will continue to grow agricultural development and promote the goals of Feed the Future.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: allAfrica
Photo: USAID

 un
At the UN General Assembly meeting Monday, UN Officials urged those in attendance to continue to work towards “full implementation” of major anti-human trafficking treaties. The treaties are central in the fight against the US$32 billion global human trafficking industry.  Global estimates of those in forced labor, sexual prostitution, and military labor range from 2.4 million to 27 million. Regardless of the numbers, the industry will continue to grow without support and implementation from UN member countries.

Vuk Jeremic, General Assembly president, opened the two day UN conference aimed at improving coordination among nations in the fight against human trafficking.  When talking about stopping the crime of human trafficking and helping victims rebuild their lives, he said “no effort must be spared.”  We must increase our attention to the matter and collaborate to fight against human trafficking.  Increased sensitivity and awareness training for law enforcement, border control, embassy officials, and peacekeepers is one such area where coordination must be improved.

The two-day meeting will also serve to provide an update on the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.  The plan was adopted in 2010 and includes measures for integrating the fight against human trafficking into broader programs within the UN as well as increasing development and security globally.  Discussions throughout the meeting built upon the plan and addressed preventing human trafficking, prosecuting offenders, protecting victims, and forming partnerships to fight human trafficking. The Plan also set up the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons. Jeremic requested member countries to provide greater support for the fund.

With almost a third of victims worldwide identified as children, the need for greater collaboration is great. Awareness on the part of government officials, humanitarian organizations, and citizens is necessary to continue in the fight against human trafficking. The UN conference is a huge step in this direction.

– Amanda Kloeppel
 Source: National News Agency of Malaysia
Photo: UN

Global Health Blogs

Interested in global health? Check out this list of global health blogs!

1. http://blogs.plos.org/globalhealth/

PLOS Blogs covers a wide range of science and health topics, but has a particular blog devoted to global health. Their Translational Global Health blog gathers knowledge and blogs from emerging knowledge leaders around the world. Most recently they highlighted the TEDMED 2013 conference. This blog is full of interesting information and is updated regularly which is why it took a spot on the top 10 list.

2. http://www.cgdev.org//globalhealth

The Center for Global Development has a blog specifically dedicated to Global Health Policy.  Writers post on issues related to global health policy and changes going on within that arena. The articles are relevant and contain solid, evidence-based research and topics.

3. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/en/

This is the media center for the World Health Organization. While not exactly a blog in the truest sense of the word, the media center offers news, events, features, stories, and resources on world health. It is comprehensive and contains a wealth of knowledge on global health which is why it made the list.

4. http://blogs.cdc.gov/global/

The official CDC blog contains all things related to global health.  The blog has a nice list of categories on the side and provides interesting and relevant information for the public relating to global health.  The CDC blog is a well-rounded source of global health information and resources.

5. http://capsules.kaiserhealthnews.org/

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is another excellent resource on world health.  They work through advocacy and policy to help change global health.  Within their health news section, they have a blog with short posts on news and events in both national and global health.

6. http://ghcorps.org/fellows/blog/

The Global Health Corps works with activists and leaders under the common vision that health is a human right. Fellows in the program work all over the world in various global health fields and blog about their experiences. The blog provides both information and a personal component highlighting the experience of the fellows as they work in global healthcare.

7. http://www.publichealthnewswire.org/

The American Public Health Association blog was chosen for its focus on advocacy and change. While the focus on global health is small, the organization has some great tips on advocating for change and activities one can do to get involved in advocacy and policy change.

8. http://www.unfoundation.org/blog/

The United Nations Foundation plays a significant role in global health. From eradicating polio to providing mosquito nets, the UN works hard in the arena of global health.  The blog is not specially focused on global health, but covers an array of UN topics.  It can be narrowed down to global health topics and is a great resource for global development in general.

9. http://globalhealtheducation.org/SitePages/Home.aspx

The Global Health Education Consortium made the list because of the extensive list of resources available to educators.  The resources tab under the home pages has units, PowerPoint presentations, and handouts on global health geared towards the classroom.  It is a great place to get students started in advocacy and awareness of global health issues and ways to get involved in global action.

10. http://www.ghi.gov/

Closing out the Top 10 list is the U.S. Global Health Initiative blog.  The GHI works to engage in global health through strategic engagement with foreign countries. Sustainability is key in the programs the GHI funds as well as the overall impact on global health. The blog provides updates on key programs and initiatives as well as news relating to global health.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Photo: Twitter

Ed Royce
 “Trafficking in persons is a grievous offense against human dignity that impacts every country on earth, and disproportionately victimizes girls and children.” – Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce opened a hearing on human trafficking on May 7th, 2013. The hearing will discuss local and private sector initiatives to combat human trafficking.  Modern-day slavery, human trafficking is a growing global crime.

One of the things society must wrestle with is how the vulnerable are treated and protected as well as what their responsibility is in coming to the aid of the exploited. Human trafficking exists in every nation worldwide and targets women and children in disproportionate amounts.  Numbers indicate over 20 million victims of forced labor and forced sex work worldwide. However, bigger than the numbers are the faces and stories of the victims, largely children, who have been stripped of their hope, innocence, and youth.

Chairman Royce’s Chief of Staff, Amy Porter, spent time in India and Cambodia serving victims of human trafficking. She recounts girls as young as 3 years old in awful, disgusting situations. Closer to home, it is estimated that 100,000 children in the US are victims of human trafficking.  The Foreign Affairs Committee has worked tirelessly to get human trafficking on the minds of Congress and will continue to work hard to make the issue an urgent and pressing one in the coming weeks and years.

The hearing will look at some of the promising private sector and community partnerships going on worldwide and the implications of those innovative partnerships in eradicating human trafficking. The tools that are being developed and the relationships established on the local, community level may just be the answer to fighting human trafficking worldwide.

Videos of the Question and Answer session as well as the opening statement can be found here.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: House Foreign Affairs Committee
Photo: Jewish Journal

congo
Happy Mother’s Day?  Well, maybe not in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which was recently named the worst place to be a mom according to a report done by Save the Children. The DRC took the unwanted ranking from Niger and for the first time in the 14 years since the report has been published, sub-Saharan Africa took up the bottom ten places.

The London-based charity’s “State of the World’s Mothers” report compared 176 countries in terms of maternal health, child mortality, education and levels of women’s income and political status.  The results were staggering and showed massive gaps in maternal health. A woman or girl in the DRC has a 1 in 3o chance of dying from maternal causes, including childbirth, whereas a women in Finland faces a 1 in 12,200 risk. The report cited the poor health of mothers as well as low access to health care  as possible causes for the high rates of infant mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.

Save the Children is calling for an investment to close the gap. They cite the need for nations to invest in mothers and children and to provide better and more accessible maternal care.  Women must have access to education and political standing as well as high quality health and child care.

Much progress is being made in developing countries and sub-Saharan Africa; the study pointed to four life-saving products that could drastically change the current state of affairs. Those four products are:

1. Corticosteroid injections to women in preterm labor.

2. Resuscitation devices to save babies who do not breathe at birth.

3. Chlorhexidine cord cleansing to prevent umbilical cord infections.

4. Injectable antibiotics to treat newborn sepsis and pneumonia.

Simple devices and measures like these have the potential to give mothers and infants in countries like the DRC a better chance at a full, healthy life.  It is time to continue the progress being made and even the odds for mothers in the DRC and all across sub-Saharan Africa.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: Global Post

Fifth_BRICS_Summit_2013_Brazil_Russia_India_China_Sout_Africa_conference_leadership_global_business

Leaders of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) announced at the end of their summit in March in Durban their intention to start a new Development Bank.  This Development Bank will be used to mobilize resources within developing countries to build infrastructure and promote sustainable development projects.

Over the last four decades, the nations of BRICS have seen enormous success in economic development and are coming together to see that their futures are bright and full of opportunities.  As developed nations struggle through their own economic difficulties, the Development Bank will serve to bridge a gap in funding.  Infrastructure requirements in emerging-market economies point to the need for the availability of credit and sources of financing. With 1.4 billion people lacking reliable electricity, 900 million lacking access to clean water, and 2.6 billion without adequate sanitation, the Development Bank will be a key player in addressing the long-term sustainable solutions to those problems.  In addition, the forecasted large migration to cities calls for policymakers to fund environmentally sustainable investments.

Predictions for infrastructure spending within the developing world top $2 trillion annually in the coming decades.  This spending will allow nations to achieve long-term poverty reduction and economic growth. The private market will still be relied upon, but their dollars can only go so far. The Development Bank will fill the gap and become a catalyst for change in developing countries.

As the world economy is changing, the Development Bank provides BRICS a chance to reflect on those changes within an institution that utilizes modern financial instruments, strong governance, and broad-based mandates.  The bank can capitalize on new development partnerships and collective action as well as innovative and cost-effective approaches.  While developed countries still have a strong role to play in global development, the shortfall in assistance and need for quick decisions make the Development Bank a welcome institution in the marketplace of emerging countries.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: The Korea Herald
Photo: BRICS

Investment
The growth story in Africa is remarkable and continuing to catch the attention of the global economy. Emerging markets are investing in Africa at rates that are quickly outpacing developed markets.  A sign that business prospects are good and the emerging markets that were just recently at the beginning of growth are making big enough strides to begin investing in other markets.  Africa is working hard to reduce poverty and a growing middle class is catching the attention of markets and companies ready to expand their potential for growth.

Despite a drop in the number of new foreign direct investment projects globally, Africa was able to see growth to 5.6 percent in 2012 in their share of direct investment.  Ernst and Young’s 2013 Africa Attractiveness survey notes an increase in investments from China and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has also recently announced key partnerships with governments on the continent to continue the relationship between African development and UAE investment.  While the United States, Britain, and France have typically been the biggest investors in Africa, only the UK showed increased project numbers in 2012. Investment projects from China grew 28 percent over the same time period.

From 2007 to 2012, investment from emerging markets into Africa grew at a rate of over 20.7 percent while investment from developed markets grew at only 8.4 percent.  The numbers tell the story of a shift in investment and interest in the continent of Africa.  The story of African growth and development is real and backed by Ernst and Young’s Managing Partner for Africa. The potential for growth in the next 10 to 20 years is bigger and what was once considered a desolate, poverty-stricken continent is fast emerging as a story of hope, poverty reduction, and growth in purchasing power.

There is still much work to be done in Africa and those concerned with development must still keep an eye on those living on less than $2 a day. But in terms of initial success, Africa is one continent to cheer for.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: The Economic Times

Data from the World Bank released last week reports twenty fragile countries who are starting to reach development goals.  As the Millennium Development Goals near the end, news of progress is exciting and hopeful. Progress in fragile countries ranges from efforts in reducing poverty, improving the education of girls, and cutting down on deaths during child birth.

The Millennium Development Goals are set to expire in 2015 and these 20 countries were not on track just a few years ago. The progress that has been made since 2010 is remarkable. In addition, six more fragile countries are on target to hit the goals by 2015. Countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, and Timor-Leste have seen a 50% reduction in people in extreme poverty and increased the number of girls in school.  These are strong accomplishments for any nation, but for these nations who are coming out of war and devastation, the results are even more extraordinary.

The data serves as a call for the global community to not strike countries off as hopeless or lost causes, but to seek the development of all nations.  While these twenty have seen remarkable progress, many war-torn nations are still lagging far behind the benchmarks set up by the Millennium Development Goals. These nations are also very prone to relapse as is the case of Yemen who was on target to meet the goal of reducing death during childbirth until the violence during the Arab Spring in 2011.

World Bank leaders are calling for a bridge between long-term development and humanitarian assistance to help countries in the middle of crisis.  When the international spotlight leaves a country in distress, often so does the humanitarian aid, leaving the country devastated and struggling to rebuild itself. To rebuild requires support that focuses on clear actions, steps, and transparent and accountable goals. As nations tighten their spending in the midst of the economic downturn, effective aid is even more important. The World Bank is committed to working more closely with the United Nations to see that long-term development happens in fragile countries.

Community involvement is also key in addressing and meeting needs and designing appropriate projects.  As aid organizations work together with communities, they can address the causes of conflict and also create programs and plans that emerge as long-term solutions.  In the final push to accomplish the Millennium Development goals, this type of aid is going to be increasingly important.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: Reuters
Photo: World Hunger

development

When it comes to research in the field of international development, Canada takes the top spot.  Their contributions of foreign aid to international development research go towards finding solutions to hunger, addressing climate change, augmenting the food supply, alleviating poverty, and increasing health and well-being in developing countries.   The 2012 World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Daniel Hillel, attributes the decades of Canadian support to his ability to develop drip irrigation.  This breakthrough innovation allows food production in the world’s driest climates.

Many Canadian organizations contribute to the nation’s state in research and development. The International Development Research Centre is a leader in partnering for research and Canada seeks to collaborate with other governments and aid organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the last year, over $100 million additional research dollars from partner organizations went towards life-saving projects.

The best part is that Canada and the world are seeing the results.

Advancements made in women’s health have led to a dramatic change in the survival rates of mothers over the last decade.  More recently, a program was launched in Nigeria to address the tragedy of women dying in childbirth. In 2012, close to 40,000 women died giving birth.  A program funded by the Canadian International Development Agency in partnership with the government of Nigeria has already shown very promising results and a reduction in deaths.

Foreign aid is changing.  No longer are countries content with handouts that increase dependency, but are seeking projects that increase self-reliance.  Canada is seeking to ensure their research dollars go to fund innovative projects such as the African Institutes for Mathematical Sciences Next Einstein Initiative. This clever program trains young African graduates to use mathematical thinking when addressing complex challenges. Over $20 million in support has been committed to expand the initiative.

Another focus of Canadian research is food security.  It is projected that by 2030 food supply will have to double to reach current demands. Projects are set in motion to figure out ways to make sure land is usable, people have food, and farmers can make a living, In the Middle East, a project is working on using water from household sinks and baths to drip irrigate crops in dry lands and improve crop production.

Canada is setting an example for nations to follow with their emphasis on research, innovative development, and self-sustaining projects.  Their story is one of foreign aid making a positive and noticeable difference.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: Huffington Post Canada
Photo:
University of Edinburgh