There are many aspects of sustainable development methods that are required to evaluate. In the developing world such as Zambia, few regard the issue of the environment seriously. On average, lead concentrations in children are five to 10 times the permissible United States Environmental Protection Agency levels, and can even be high enough to kill.

It has over the years left huge effects that can now be felt for many years to come. One of the most prominent environmental issues was the discovery of high levels of lead in the town of Kabwe. The Canadian oil sands provide another example of the need to make sure development is anchored by principles that are sustainable. Politicians mostly see votes and with little focus on effects of unregulated massive development such as pollution in the rivers as the case in Alberta, Canada. According to investment for this region of Canada oil companies will spend nearly $200 billion over the next decades.

In this regard it is important to know what is required to balance needs and realities of the effects on the activities of development. Sustainable development methods are plans that meet the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs (WCED, 1987:43.)

This way small economic focus approach has several unwanted side effects. For example, the solution to one problem may make another problem worse. Moreover it tends to focus on short-term benefits without monitoring long-term effects. GDP only reflects the amount of economic activity and can rise when the overall community health is being impaired.

The Alberta Oil Sands is the largest energy project on the planet, lying beneath 140,200 square kilometers of northern Alberta forest, an area almost as large as the state of Florida. With estimated $20 billion revenue coming to Canada each year from this project in Alberta, sustainable development with a broad focus is not a huge priority. Even the currently developed portion of the Oil Sands region is already experiencing severe fragmentation effects on the ecology of the boreal forest.

Remarkably one respected scientist from Canada did a report about this dilemma instead the government went on the defensive despite obvious problems in many areas. These include pollution in the Athabasca River affecting aquatic, plant, human and wildlife. This study was conducted by Dr. David Schindler a renowned academician with impressive pedigree such as the acid rain discovery. According to his report, white fish was caught in Lake Athabasca, near Fort Chipewyan, higher cancers than usual (including rare forms of cancer) in adjacent populations to the project.

It now well known that there many methods to sustain development. These are designed to measure and communicate progress towards of human endeavours across the world.

Alan Chanda

Sources: Time 1, 2, CBC, Green Party of Canada
Photo: Wikimedia

DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzania is likely to face problems in the fight against HIV and AIDS should a decision by major donors—Canada, Denmark, and the United States—to reduce funding prevail. Dr. Fatma Mrisho, the Executive Chairperson of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), recently released the warning when she paid a courtesy call on the Coast Regional Commissioner, Mwantumu Mahiza.

Dr. Mrisho said she had met with representatives from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), both of whom had confirmed to her that they would no longer contribute to the National Multi-Sectoral Strategic Framework (NMSF) after 2015.

“We, as a nation, need to get prompt replacement for the funding, failure of which all the achievements made in the fight against HIV and AIDS for more than 20 years will experience a heavy blow,” she added. The Danish and Canadian governments, within their worldwide development agencies, constitute a group of key donors who have been contributing to NMSF for several years.

Dr. Mrisho called on all district councils to begin mobilizing their funds to address the threat of donor withdrawal. She said that while TACAIDS and other local players were currently working tirelessly to make sure the long awaited AIDS Trust Fund (ATF) became operational, local councils should begin raising funds from their own sources to maintain already established HIV/AIDS related interventions.

The NMSF is a strategy designed by the Tanzanian government, through TACAIDS, to address the epidemic, which former President Benjamin Mkapa declared a national disaster nearly a decade ago. Many of the interventions provide life-prolonging drugs for people with HIV, care and support for HIV-positive peoples, and home-based care for them and orphans.

The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) established by the President George W. Bush a decade ago, has been a leading financier of HIV/Aids interventions in the country, but is also reducing funding. According to PEPFAR, HIV/AIDS is no longer considered an emergency case, and local efforts can easily handle the pandemic in a sustainable way as the infrastructure was already there. But 1.6 million people in Tanzania are still living with the virus—6% of the population—and every year nearly 84,000 die from Aids.

According to TACAIDS’ consolidated budget covering years 2010-2013, the country received about $575 million per year for HIV and AIDS national programs. So far donors have contributed 98% of the funds. The Tanzanian government, on the other hand, has been chipping in a measly 2% to the national program,  0.5%  of which was included in donor-backed General Budget Support. Other key sponsors are The Global Fund (20%) and United Nations Population Fund (2%).

– Scarlet Shelton

Sources: AllAfrica, IRIN, Avert
Photo: Aids Research

4-H Canada and Bayer CropScience have partnered to hold the global 4-H Youth Ag-Summit in Calgary, Albert, Canada from August 19-25th. Young adults (ages 18-25) from 24 countries worldwide will “come to the table,” share their ideas and develop a plan of action on how to best feed the hungry planet.

Throughout the week-long event called “Feeding a Hungry Planet,” 120 young agricultural delegates, 25 global mentors, and numerous volunteers will share and explore ideas with peers, business leaders, elected officials, and scientists about the global agricultural challenge.

The United Nations declared in November 2011 that the global population had surpassed 7 billion people. By 2050, it is estimated that another 2 billion people will need to be provided with adequate food and nutrition. The 4-H Youth Ag-Summit is built on the idea that no one person, company or nation holds the answer, but through discussion and innovation, these young minds can find and act upon groundbreaking agricultural solutions to feed our growing world.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 870 million people, one in every eight people, were suffering from prolonged starvation in 2010-2012. This means they do not have enough food to lead healthy and active lives. Nearly all, or 852 million, live in developing countries. Hunger and malnutrition are the number one threat to global health, bigger than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Solving hunger lays the foundation for progress in other areas of development, such as health and education. Well-nourished women have healthier, heavier babies who have stronger immune systems. A healthy, nourished child is more likely to attend school and perform to their full potential.

Chronic hunger was reduced in the 1980s and 1990s, but progress leveled off between 2000 and 2010. Despite the scale of the issue, hunger is an entirely solvable problem. By combining today’s knowledge, tools, and policies, the world has the capabilities to ensure that no one goes to bed hungry. The young minds at the Feeding the Hungry Planet-4-H Youth Ag Summit are working to do just that.

– Ali Warlich

Sources: Feeding a Hungry Planet, World Food Programme
Photo: UK Ag News

According to the Hunger Project, a non-profit organization that works to end global hunger, “malnutrition occurs when the variety or quality of food is insufficient to support proper development and health.”

Roughly 15 percent of babies born in developing countries are of low birth weight due to maternal malnutrition, and even those born at a healthy weight are at risk for malnutrition due to insufficient breastfeeding. Malnutrition causes one-third of global child deaths, perpetuated as undernourished women give birth in low-resource settings.

When a malnourished woman gives birth to a low-birth weight baby that has already been affected by her mother’s malnourishment, the child will suffer from a compromised immune system and will most likely stay malnourished, even when she reaches reproductive age. Her child, too, will be born malnourished, and the cycle of malnourishment will continue.

Seeking to break the cycle of malnourishment, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada is developing a daily microencapsulated micronutrient powder through its affiliate SickKids.

Called “Prenatal Sprinkles,” this powder contains iron, folic acid and calcium. Pregnant and lactating women in poor areas can simply sprinkle their food with this supplement in order to combat malnutrition.

Prenatal Sprinkles will help to combat anemia during pregnancy, which often leads to premature birth, and preeclampsia associated with hypertension, which often causes maternal and fetal death.

Prenatal Sprinkles can potentially lower maternal hypertensive disease related mortality by 20 percent and preterm birth by 24 percent. Previously, supplements could not contain both iron and calcium due to poor absorption, but Prenatal Sprinkles contain differential time-release nutrients that increase iron and calcium absorption and prevent calcium-iron interaction. They also have a smooth texture and a pleasant flavor, making them palatable for malnourished women.

The Hospital for Sick Children is partnering with companies in the private sector in order to finance the production of Prenatal Sprinkles, but the projected cost of mass production is very low for the supplement.

Though Prenatal Sprinkles are not yet in wide circulation, they offer a simple and cost effective solution to malnutrition, a problem that cannot be solved by food aid alone.

Katie Bandera

Sources: Sprinkles (R) 60mg Fe for Pregnant and Lactating Women, Issues: Malnutrition
Photo: Girls’ Globe

World Bank Goal of Poverty Eradication by 2030
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recognizes the progress made in ending extreme global poverty. At the Conference of Montreal on Tuesday, Kim noted the share of the world’s population living in extreme poverty has been cut in half in twenty years’ time. Kim set a goal of having extreme poverty completely eradicated by 2030.

Statistics back Kim’s assessment of the progress. Life expectancy in developing countries has increased by around 33 percent. Smallpox no longer exists, and infant and child death rates in the developing world have been cut in half. Significantly, all of this has been achieved with the United States contributing just .2% of its federal budget to foreign aid.

The World Bank plans to follow the bottom 40 percent of the world’s annual incomes to help countries truly understand how their poor are doing. Kim said that in order for poverty to be truly eradicated, more than just the support of the government would be needed.

“Going forward, private sector growth in developing countries will be key to achieving our goals,” Kim said.

Kim has requested that Canada continue to invest overseas, as it could spark economic growth and help decrease global poverty altogether.

– William Norris 
Source: Global News, The Borgen Project
Photo: Bloomberg


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
University of Edinburgh

Canadian Research Fund Fights World HungerTechnology, science and research are integral tools in the fight against world hunger and poverty.  The Canadian government has taken important steps toward funding new efforts to fight global poverty and hunger. Last week the Canadian government announced its contribution to the second phase of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, also known as CIFSRF.  This fund is using science and technology partnerships to try to find new solutions to battle the global epidemic of hunger and poverty.

The Canadian government is committed to improving food security for those most in need around the globe. They are using collaborative efforts contributed by universities, businesses, and non-governmental organizations to bring new perspectives to the problem. The Canadian research fund is developing a strategy that many other countries could learn from- the United States included. Canada’s research fund is striving to work with developing country researchers to respond to not only the immediate food needs on the ground but also working towards providing long-term strategies to effectively combat long-lasting poverty problems.

The second phase of the CIFSRF is working towards connecting research results to public and private sector organizations for distribution on a larger scale. Additionally, this stage has called for greater participation by women, a vital step in the eradication of global poverty. A majority of the world’s poor are women, and increased participation in the labor force is an incredibly important step in helping women escape the cycle of poverty.

The ultimate goal of CIFSRF is to provide sustainable results that will create long-term solutions in developing nations. Along with economic benefits, the Canadian organization would like to help bring about positive social change. It is refreshing to see results and improvement. This program has already managed to use nanotechnology to create an innovative packaging system that was able to significantly reduce the post-harvest loss of mangoes for farmers in India and Sri Lanka. It will be exciting to see what the second phase of the program will be able to produce.

Caitlin Zusy
Source Nano Werk
Photo AP/Aijaz Rahi

Recently, Quebec and its potential international aid agency have become a hot news topic. Quebec is considering the creation of its own foreign aid agency with its allotted share of the Canadian budget for International Development during the most recent elections.

If Quebec and its potential international aid agency become a reality, it would loosen its ties to the rest of Canada. Parti Quebecois is a political party in Quebec that aims to move away from its connections to Canada to make Quebec its own state. Overall, Quebec’s government, opposition to Canada’s Conservative party, believes that Canada’s foreign aid programs have been “tainted” by the Conservatives. Therefore, Quebec’s independent foreign aid budget becomes highly tangible.

Quebec has already shown progress on research and development into the definition and function of the new department. The government has demonstrated its full intentions by hiring several of Quebec’s developers to take on the job. A committee report is expected at the end of 2013 to give more updates on the project, which will be run by the Quebec Association for International Solidarity.

– Corina Balsamo

Sources: Macleans, Winnipeg Free Press
Photo: CTV News

Canada Pledges $13 Million to Mali for Humanitarian EffortsIt seems that global media has been bouncing back and forth between reports on Mali and Syria. Both countries have been submerged in the mountainous political upheaval that many of us living here in the United States and other peaceful countries are not able to comprehend, due to no fault of ours. One way in which observers of these revolutions (yes these are revolutions and not merely protests or civil strife as the media chooses to call them) can help make a difference is by choosing on what issues to focus both their money and attention on. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the first step towards the right direction earlier this week at a global donor meeting in Ethiopia. Canada has made humanitarian efforts.

According to the Canadian media, Canada’s $13 million aid to Mali for humanitarian purposes stood out among the millions of dollars pledged by other countries specifically for combat resources and other military costs for AFISMA (the African coalition of about 20 countries and 3500 troops fighting against the Islamists in Mali).

However, the BBC notes that donations from other countries, such as the United States, Germany, and China, are also directed towards “Afisma, humanitarian assistance, logistics, improving security and the future development of Mali”.

Nevertheless, the Canadian government withstood arguments made on behalf of the African Union to put more money and troops into AFISMA’s military campaign. Prime Minister Harper made it clear that Canada will no longer be sending troops but instead “will continue its lifesaving work in Mali through humanitarian and development assistance”.

When political unrest creates such horrid living conditions in a country at war, it is understandable how concerned countries may be caught in the middle of choosing between military or humanitarian assistance. However, it can be viewed as a cycle, where choosing which end to start with makes the difference. By becoming involved at the ground level in the villages, schools, and health centers, outside aid can create stability, survival, and small patches of peace, which will hopefully create an internal domino effect. These acts may not remove the Islamist forces from the north in Mali, but they surely create a more constructive path with fewer deaths instead of instigating fighting with tank and arms donations.

As governments make decisions on where to funnel their money, the people of Mali will be patiently waiting. For them, other than becoming refugees, there is not much they can do against hunger and weapons. While keeping in mind the importance of political stability and the different ways to achieve it, the African Union and future global-donor meetings will hopefully not call for special meetings focused on collecting only a certain kind of assistance, especially when that assistance is not for the basic survival needs of the people of Mali.

– Deena Dulgerian

Source: CTV,BBC
Photo: CTV