Unregulated Fishing

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) results in billions of dollars of lost revenue annually. A recent, groundbreaking treaty passed by the U.N. combats the threat against this natural resource and protects the livelihood of millions.

The Problem

Globally, IUU fishing costs $23 billion each year, with West Africa alone seeing a loss of US $1.3 billion each year. IUU fishing affects West Africa the most dramatically, with unregulated fishing comprising one-third to one-half of all fishing. One in four jobs in the region are linked to the fishing industry, further exacerbating the devastating effects of illegal fishing.

Employment, trade, and food nutrition and security in W. Africa depend heavily on fisheries. As a result, illegal fishing can put the livelihoods of millions of people at risk. In recent years, the increased demand for fish worsened the economic losses seen as a result of illegal fishing.

The majority of IUU fishing in W. Africa can be traced back to vessels coming from East Asia and Russia. Smaller nations, such as Senegal and Mauritania, lack sufficient resources to monitor illegal fishing off their coasts. Scarce resources also prevent developing nations from monitoring legal fishing agreements made with the European Union, Southeast Asia, and Russia.

The inability to monitor illicit and illegal fishing practices destroys Africa’s potential for a “Blue Revolution” in ocean management. With access to the sea, Africa’s economy would greatly benefit from a boom in the fishing industry. However, IUU fishing and minimal capacity to monitor it jeopardizes economic growth.

Not only does IUU fishing result in loss of revenue, it also contributes to global overfishing. Overfishing is a significant problem and could be quelled through increased monitoring of illegal fishing practices. Doing so would help guarantee the sustainability of the industry in the future.

Experts predict that by 2030, 80 percent of the world’s poor will live in Africa. Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary-General, states that this prediction could be prevented, “if the runaway plunder of natural resources is brought to a stop. Across the continent, this plunder is prolonging poverty amidst plenty. It has to stop, now.”

The Solution

Originally adopted as a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) agreement in 2009, the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) became an international accord on June 5, 2016.

Twenty-nine countries signed onto the treaty including Australia, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, the European Union (as a member organization), Gabon, Guinea, Guyana, Iceland, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Palau, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga, the United States of America, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

PSMA changed the requirements for monitoring IUU fishing. Historically, each country monitored its own fleets. The new treaty shifts this responsibility, calling for ports to track information on each vessel upon entrance.

Port state measures are more efficient and cost-effective for fighting illegal fishing. By detecting illegal fishing, stopping ill-caught fish from being sold, and sharing fishing vessel information globally, PSMA will improve the oversight of the fishing industry and lessen the resource limitations faced by developing countries.

The treaty also requires wealthier countries to aid those with minimal resources. South Korea has already committed to making a financial contribution and other nations are expected to follow this example. In addition, the treaty installed the Technical Cooperation Programme and a Global Capacity Development Umbrella Programme to assist with logistical, legislative and legal aspects of implementing the agreement.

The adoption of PSMA also contributes to the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by promoting the conservation of and sustainable use of oceans, specifically targeting IUU fishing.

Despite the strides made with the new treaty, the U.N. urges stronger implementation of PSMA. Combatting IUU fishing still faces resource and capacity restraints and the world will not see a decline in illegal fishing without action by the international community.

Anna O’Toole

Global Philanthropy

A recent article published in the Minnesota Star Tribune shed light on Minnesota’s philanthropic efforts. The article revealed that the state’s top 100 nonprofits had donated over $24 million to global philanthropies in 2012.

Scott Jackson, president of Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Global Impact, names the Twin Cities as one of the four or five largest concentrations of philanthropic dollars in the United States. This is a result of the hundreds of nonprofits operating for the cause of foreign aid.

This comes as no surprise to Minnesotans, as they routinely rank among the top states in volunteerism, civic engagement, corporate giving, educational attainment, per capita international adoption and peace corps volunteers. Minnesota is, as Jackson puts it, “an amazing stronghold of people concerned about the world.”

There are hundreds to choose from, but these three nonprofits exemplify Minnesota’s commitment to global philanthropy by not only giving money but also providing training and service to create sustainable solutions to poverty.

Children’s HeartLink

Based in Minneapolis, Children’s HeartLink works in partnership with pediatric cardiac programs in underserved regions of the world to promote sustainable cardiac care for children with heart disease.

The nonprofit has programs partnering with 13 hospitals in six countries on three continents, all working for the purpose of ensuring that children have access to quality care for the treatment of heart disease.

Children’s HeartLink began in 1969 by sending volunteer teams abroad to perform cardiac surgery but has evolved over the years to provide training in areas of need, empowering the people to take care of themselves.

Tractors for Africa

In December 2014 Louis Ricard, Mark York and Maurice Hurst created Tractors for Africa. This Wayzata-based organization just delivered their first tractor to a co-op of farmers in Burkina Faso. Tractors for Africa was born as a result of York’s experience working with farmers in West Africa. He recalls the agricultural technology in the region as being equivalent to that of the United States 150 years ago.

In the U.S., there are plenty of tractors in working condition, collecting dust for the simple reason that they are too small to meet the needs of today’s large farms. Ricard, York and Hurst strive to find and acquire these tractors and send them to Burkina Faso where they can be put to good use rather than rusting in a junkyard.

With the help of donations, Tractors for Africa finds and restores tractors and other farm equipment. Then, they ship the machinery to a co-op of farmers in Burkina Faso and spend two months training the farmers to use their new equipment.

American Refugee Committee

The American Refugee Committee, or ARC, is an international organization aimed at providing humanitarian aid and training in refugee communities. Over the past 35 years, they have tended to millions of beneficiaries in 11 countries, providing shelter, clean water and sanitation, healthcare, skills training, education, protection and any other support necessary for refugees and displaced peoples to start anew. Clearly, they serve as a stellar example of global philanthropy.

ARC strives to help people survive crisis and conflict by rebuilding lives of dignity, health, security and self-sufficiency. “They are committed to delivering programs that ensure measurable quality and a lasting impact,” and are praised for their efficiency in providing aid; 92 cents of every dollar donated went to help victims of conflict and natural disaster in 2015.

These organizations, along with hundreds of others based in Minnesota, share a collective goal of providing help and hope to those who need it most in their own communities and in communities all over the world. A strong volunteer spirit and desire to serve help to make Minnesota a leader in global philanthropy.

Aaron Parr

Photo: Pixabay

New Report Reveals Dramatic Growth in Impact Investments
Socially Responsible Investments (SRI), those that pay attention to the environmental and social impacts of what they fund while still turning a profit, have ballooned. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, an association for professionals and organizations engaged in sustainable, responsible, and impact investing, recently released a report detailing the growth of SRI in the United States, showing huge increases in funding.

Coming in at over $6.5 trillion in 2014, the Socially Responsible Investments market in the United States has shown a 76 percent increase since 2012 and has grown nearly tenfold from 1995. “These assets account for more than one out of every six dollars under professional management in the United States,” the report states. The dollar amount is over 200 times larger than the annual flow of Official Development Assistance from the United States.

The growth in SRI is not limited to the United States. The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, a worldwide collaboration of sustainable investment organizations takes a broader view, looking at the amount of money invested in SRI around the world by region.

In 2014, $21.4 trillion was tied up in SRI around the globe, an increase of $8.1 trillion from two years previously. Europe leads the pack, with 63.7 percent of the total, more than doubling the amount held by the United States. Canada contributes 4.4 of the share, an impressive number considering its relatively small population. In fact, per capita SRI in Canada is higher than the United States. These three regions contribute 99 percent of the total, with Asia and Australia/New Zealand taking .2 and .8 percent respectively.

Europe also has the highest proportion of SRI to total managed assets, with 58.8 percent of all investments channeled towards socially beneficial growth. The global average is just over 30 percent and has grown nearly 50 percent in the last two years.

To be sure, foreign investment by governments to aid developing nations must also be strong. “The global challenges are so complex and the size of the funding that’s needed is so large, traditional funding sources like philanthropy are probably not going to be sufficient to meet it,” said Anna Kearney, associate director for corporate social responsibility at the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), in July.

In addition, the issue of how much of SRI ends up aiding environmental and social development in the developing world is unclear.

However, the Global Impact Investing Network — a nonprofit working to scale up impact investing — sheds some light on the answer. The group surveyed 146 SRI firms around the globe and found that 48 percent of the $60 billion under management by these firms was invested in emerging markets. That may be a proxy for the ratio of the $21.4 trillion in SRI that is invested in developing economies.

The trajectory for SRI remains promising. As more consumers look to put their money toward helping the planet and the poor while earning a profit, a growth in investment options that offer this will follow.

John Wachter

Sources: Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment 1, Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment 2, Global Impact Investing Network, Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, The Guardian, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Photo: Flickr

global impact
Global Impact is a group dedicated to forming partnerships and aiding both nonprofits and private sector organizations. By providing both secretariat and advisory resources, Global Impact has helped over 100 international charities, 100 private sector entities and 300 public sector entities flourish.

Global Impact was established in 1956. Since its inception, over $1.6 billion has been raised in order to help the world’s most impoverished people. Global Impact helps charities like Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and World Vision.

The organization seeks to develop effective strategies for giving, from the donors to the charities they want to support. More recently, Global Impact decided to team up with CollaborateUP. Global impact explains the CollaborateUP as “a boutique consulting firm advising businesses and nonprofits on how to work together to solve big problems.” According to Global Impact, CollaborateUP will “co-host an executive education program for creating shared value and maximizing strategic philanthropy.”

The program will take place between August 20 and August 22 and will act as a three-day training session for leaders of major companies dedicated to supporting nonprofits, as well as the leaders of the nonprofits themselves.

Global Impact has also been responsible for providing aid to the mass number of children who are coming to the U.S. from Central America in order to escape the poverty and violence of their homelands. The organization has been consistently working with World Vision to address the problem. Global Impact has helped World Vision organize and execute their plan to provide clothing, school supplies and shelter for these incoming children.

Global Impact has also been working with the Seattle International Fund to help alleviate issues that cause children to flee in the first place. According to Global Impact, the fund plans to invest over $1 million in the next five years to “support young adult leaders in Central America and help them to implement innovative projects within their organizations that are designed to demonstrate measureable impacts on girls’ equality and/or adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights.”

Global Impact’s primary mission is to help these nonprofit organizations effectively accomplish their goals in order to provide support to people facing extreme poverty and oppression.

– Jordyn Horowitz

Sources: CollaborateUP, 1, 2

National Climate Assessment
Recently, a Green Iowa Americorps member informed me that farmers in the state of Iowa have lost four days of field time since 1896. Due to an increase of approximately 8% in rainfall across the state, farmers now face very rainy springs and drier autumns, both of which threaten the hydrologic balance necessary for crop production.

For Iowa farmers, these changes affect their livelihood from year to year. More rain during the planting season could equate to a season without a harvest, or at least lower yields. These changes also incur anxiety for the state’s residents, many of whom were affected by the large-scale flooding in 2008 and who now look to spring with apprehension.

The Third National Climate Assessment released by the White House on May 5 takes note of the climate changes taking effect across the country, like the ones observed in Iowa, and chastises the definitive changes humans have brought to the world.

The report informs, in detail, how climate change will adversely affect the American water supply, agriculture, human health and ecosystems, among other things.

Despite the report’s thorough and informative nature, as well as its website’s appealing layout, it fails to stress the global impact of American culture on the rest of the world. While the report was created to address the problems of climate within the U.S., it only just addresses the U.S.’s prominence in creating it around the world, thereby creating a blind spot in any discussion of climate and limiting the report’s effectiveness.

Warmer air and higher ocean temperatures, melting ice and snow and an increased presence of diseases spread by mosquitoes and other vectors could disrupt food production and foster global poverty and hunger.

The U.S. itself plays a major role in climate change, a reality this report skims over lightly. While global concerns are mentioned, such as how “global temperatures could cause associated increases in premature deaths related to worsened ozone and particle pollution,” the U.S. isn’t named as one of the prime instigator’s of this trend. Instead, the U.S. is treated as one of the victims.

The Environmental Protection Agency reported in 2008 that the leading CO2 emitters were China, the U.S., the European Union, India, the Russian Federation, Japan and Canada. For third world countries attempting to catch up with the U.S. and other world powers, energy efficient manufacturing means are out of reach, something the U.S. should confront and have a greater hand in supporting.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency reports that the U.S. consumes 11.65 barrels of petroleum oil per person every single day, and consumes 205,824 Kilowatt-hours of energy per person. In comparison, Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, only consumes one thousandth of a barrel per person and  21.6 Kilowatt-hours of energy per person.

Instead of addressing climate change in order to look after the U.S.’ own domestic interests, the U.S. government and its citizens need to be more responsible for how their actions impact the rest of the world.

— Emily Bajet

Sources: Houston Chronicle, U.S. Global Change, The White House, EPA, The Guardian, Green Alliance, The Guardian(2), EIA
Photo: Flickr

Inspired by the infamous Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Design For Change empowers young people to bring their ideas for social change to life.

Founder of Design For Change, Kiran Bir Sethi, launched the organization in 2009 after founding the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India in 2001. She was inspired to create her own school after her young son’s discouraging experience at his local public school. Sethi was moved to action and pushed forward with her idea of a human-centered, research-based, practical curriculum to get students excited about ethics, excellence and engagement. Thus, the Riverside School was born.

Sethi designed the Riverside curriculum with a focus on five key skills: social investment, emotional competency, cognitive skills, physical health, and spirituality. Central to Riverside’s mission is encouraging students to improve the world around them. Sethi emphasized that the school’s curriculum taught students that, “life is not being used well if it is not being used to help others.”

After seeing the results of this method at the Riverside School, Sethi developed the Design For Change Challenge in 2009. This pioneering contest used a simplified design thinking process to challenge children in India to imagine and carry out solutions to the problems around them. Teachers and supervisors documented this process and sent their materials to Design For Change, whose selection panel chose twenty winners.

That year, Design for Change was invited to be part of TEDIndia, where its work quickly became well known. Since then, Design for Change has spread to over 35 countries, helping children across the world become prepared to deal with the issues of the next generation.

Design For Change’s ‘I Can’ model of design thinking consists of four steps: feeling, imagining, doing, and sharing. Through these steps, young people use a sense of empathy to uncover the overt and latent needs of the society around them, imagine potential solutions to the problems, then re-frame their ideas using a systemic view of the field. Once the planning is complete, young people are challenged to go out and make their change happen.

This ‘I Can’ model stands in sharp contrast to the traditional global education system, which reinforces a limited mentality of achievement in young people. ‘I Can’ gives children a sense of agency and inspires them to make the world a better place. Kiran Sethi and Design For Change have made this powerful sentiment echo throughout the world.

Tara Young

Sources: Design For Change, Catalyst, What Design Can Do
Photo: My Modern Met

Poverty Impacts the Environment
How poverty impacts the environment: Natural resources are being depleted, clean air is growing scarce, climates are shifting, and entire ecosystems are being affected. It doesn’t take long to look around the world and see the ways in which the environment is changing. While mankind, in general, places stress on the environment, poverty in particular has played a major role in environmental degradation across the world.


Poverty Impacts the Environment: Effects and Solutions


One of the biggest ways that the environment is affected by poverty is through deforestation. Forests provide the world with clean air, in addition to working as “sink holes” that help reduce the drastic climate changes seen in the world today. With the increasing level of deforestation taking place, the environment is taking a heavy blow and finding it difficult to recover. Impoverished communities, unaware of the errant, harmful ways in which they use natural resources, such as forest wood and soil, are continuing the destructive cycle that spirals the environment further downward.

Air pollution is another way in which poverty contributes to environmental degradation. As mentioned above, poor communities lack the proper knowledge when it comes to production techniques. Thus, the ways in which they use resources to help them survive are harmful to the resources around them, and ultimately the world at large. Air pollution is one of the major consequences of poor production techniques while water pollution is a result of poor water management, once again due to lack of knowledge. Water pollution affects so many things beyond the poor community itself. Water pollution deprives soil of nourishing elements, kills off fish, and is extremely harmful to human health.

Because extreme poverty doesn’t always lend to widespread birth education, many poor women lack the resources necessary to engage in birth control. Therefore, it is common for poor women to continue having children well after they would have liked because of little to no access to resources and education.

The more the global population grows, the more weight is placed on the environment. Every human being consumes their share of resources from the environment, and with so many births originating from poor communities, the burdens placed on the environment grow heavier and heavier each day.

In order to help the state of the environment, we must first help the state of the poor and education is key.

Poor regions need to know what the proper and harmless methods are in which they can dispose of their waste. They must learn how to tend a healthy and sound agricultural system without the reliance on degraded soil, and other unfit resources. There must be more importance placed on water management and protecting fisheries, as those are essential for the livelihood of many people. Re-forestation projects are crucial in replenishing the supply of environmental “goods” that deforestation has destroyed.

In addition, taking action to stop the rampage of deforestation is even more important in order to begin to nourish the environment back to good health.

– Chante Owens

Sources: Teams To End Poverty, Global Issues
Photo: Science Daily

Scott Jackson has been named as Global Impact’s new President and CEO. Global Impact is a Washington, D.C.-based international nongovernmental organization (NGO). Jackson is highly qualified for the position, and Global Impact expressed in a May press release that their new president & CEO will be capable of using his accomplishments and Global Impact’s mission to achieve success in helping the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Scott Jackson previously worked for PATH, a Seattle-based global health non-profit where he served as the Vice President for External Relations. His experience at PATH provided him with significant global development, marketing and fundraising experience.

Global Impact believes that Jackson’s twenty years of experience in international development will be highly valuable to Global Impact. Mr. Jackson’s new role as President & CEO will entail a variety of responsibilities. These responsibilities will include: leading Global Impact’s advisory services, fundraising campaigns, workplace giving, partnerships, and strategic alliances.

Jackson will be comfortable managing donor and fundraising campaigns. He gained experience in the field at PATH where he worked relentlessly to strengthen relationships with partners and donors while also maximizing the visibility of PATH’s work. His work there helped to increase their donor base and grow their organization. PATH issued a statement in which they said Jackson would be truly missed as both a colleague and a friend. They also stated that he contributed a great deal to PATH’s work and the global health field overall.

Global Impact raises funds to address critical humanitarian needs around the world. They are responsible for impressive fundraising campaigns for thousands of different organizations. They have raised over $1.5 billion for their partner organizations. Global Impact funds more than 70 U.S. based international charities. They provide unique solutions to meet the unique giving needs of both organizations and donors. Global Impact was founded in 1956 and has provided valuable services to help the world’s poor and most vulnerable populations.

– Caitlin Zusy

Sources: Global Impact, PATH
Photo: Washington Post

As global awareness rises and people become educated about the needs of people all over the world, social-entrepreneurs are stepping up and starting businesses of all types, in order to bring about improved social and environmental conditions. Whether for-profit or non-profit, business models are being developed and implemented, in order to increase the quality of life for people living in the hardest of conditions.  In ever-growing numbers, people are considering new business ventures to enact positive change. Here is a 10 point plan for social-entrepreneurs to focus on:

  • Save your money
  • Keep your day job
  • Stay committed – it won’t be easy
  • Focus on social issues (and you can still make money)
  • Bring passion to your mission
  • Build a great team of supporters
  • crowdrise or kickstarter)
  • Make an impact, be able to show results
  • Change the world – all of the above will make it happen

Writing for, Devin Thorpe, the strategist of the above list says that “Once you demonstrate your impact, you can grow your enterprise to have world-changing scale.” The results won’t be measured in profits, he adds. Even the smallest idea can grow into a global force, anyone can choose to start a project and make a difference.

– Mary Purcell

Sources: Forbes
Photo: Heinebroscoffee