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15 organizations that help the world

With the myriad difficulties that face the world, it is essential to have organizations making the planet a better place. Without such generous assistance, the world would be plagued with unmanageable adversities. The following is a list of 15 organizations that help improve the world with their innovative ideas and generous efforts.

  1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an organization that works to fight hunger and its consequential effects on a global scale. It works specifically to eradicate infectious diseases and child mortality rates in struggling countries.
  1. Doctors Without Borders
    Doctors Without Borders delivers emergency aid to people in need. These efforts include helping people in situations of natural disasters, epidemics and lack of health care.
  1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
    The FAO’s prime purpose is to defeat hunger. It works in 130 countries worldwide to help ensure people have access to food and are not going hungry. The organization has been fighting hunger since 1945.
  1. Human Rights Watch
    Human Rights Watch was established in 1978 and is an organization that reports on human rights conditions in countries all over the world. With its findings, it meets with governments and financial corporations to urge for policy changes that assist the betterment of human rights around the world.
  1. Oxfam
    Oxfam is a global organization that helps improve the world through poverty-reduction efforts. It focuses on the conditions that cause poverty and works to fix the effects of such difficulties. Its efforts include disaster response, programs to help people afflicted by poverty and education improvement.
  1. Red Cross
    Founded in 1881, the Red Cross foundation works to help people in urgent need. Assisted greatly by volunteers, the Red Cross mainly provides disaster relief, support to America’s military families, health and safety services, blood donations and international services.
  1. Save the Children
    Save the Children is a nonprofit organization that focuses primarily on helping children in need. This includes emergency response, global health initiatives, HIV and Aids prevention, disaster response and creating educational opportunities. In 2016, Save the Children reached and assisted 157 million children.
  1. The Borgen Project
    The Borgen Project is a nonprofit organization that aims to end poverty by working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy. The organization is an influential ally for the world’s poor that educates and mobilizes people to communicate with their Congressional leaders to ensure funding for poverty-fighting efforts are not eliminated. In 2017, the organization had volunteers in 754 U.S. cities and is one of the 15 organizations that help improve the world immensely.
  1. The World Bank
    The World Bank works with other organizations to provide extensive financial assistance to developing countries. It was established in 1944 and has more than 10,000 employees and 120 offices worldwide.
  1. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    The UNDP is an organization that aims to eradicate poverty. It implements this goal by developing policies, skills and partnerships to enable people to sustain their progress and improvement. The UNDP is in over 170 countries and territories.
  1. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    UNICEF is an organization that fights for children’s rights to shelter, nutrition, protection and equality. It does so by being children’s advocates and providing humanitarian assistance to children and their families, most often in developing countries.
  1. United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
    USAID is an international agency that provides development assistance to countries in need. It works to advance U.S. national security and “economic prosperity” by promoting self-sufficiency. It uses humanitarian response efforts to bring disaster relief and supplies to those who are struggling.
  1. World Food Programme (WFP)
    WFP’s mission is to fight world hunger and provide people around the world the quality food they need to survive. It does this by working with U.S. policymakers and other foundations to organize financial resources, as well as develop necessary policies to assist the fight against worldwide hunger.
  1. World Health Organization (WHO)
    Of the 15 organizations that help improve the world, WHO is among the largest. The WHO is an organization that works directly with governments and various partners to ensure a healthier future for people all around the world. It fights infectious diseases and works directly with mothers and children to improve and maintain their health.
  1. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
    The WWF is an international nongovernmental organization working to conserve nature and reduce extreme threats. It also aims to increase awareness to prevent further damage to the earth and its inhabitants.

These are only 15 organizations that help improve the world. There are many more that work together with partners to help make the world a better and safer place to live. Their generosity helps people on a daily basis live healthier and happier lives, and it is troublesome to think of where the world would be without such assistance.

– McCall Robison

Photo: Flickr

malnutrition in South SudanSince 2013, political unrest in South Sudan has created a wave of violence, forcing millions from their homes to seek refuge elsewhere. According to the International Rescue Committee, the violence has left approximately 10,000 dead and displaced more than two million South Sudanese people, or one in three.

Among the displaced, about 65 percent are children under the age of 18. About 19,000 children were recruited into militias, according to a UNICEF press release. The enduring violence has disrupted the economy, education system and healthcare and has caused severe malnutrition in South Sudan.

According to the UNICEF press release, more than one million children, which is more than half of the youth population in South Sudan, suffer from acute malnourishment. With no real progress in sight, malnutrition is expected to worsen in the coming year.

“In early 2018, half of the population will be reliant on emergency food aid. The next lean season beginning in March is likely again to see famine conditions in several locations across the country,” said the Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Mark Lowcock to the OCHA security council.

Causes of Malnutrition in South Sudan

Besides flooding, which has displaced more than 100,000 people, the primary suspect causing malnutrition in South Sudan is the ongoing conflict. Destroying villages and separating families, the violence has created devastating consequences for the citizens of the African nation.

The threat of being killed or recruited into militias has forced millions from their homes and away from their farms. Now living in crowded refugee camps, and with a decrease in crop production, thousands of people are almost entirely reliant on humanitarian aid.

Not only does the violence cause millions to seek refuge and halt crop production, it also prevents humanitarian aid from reaching much-needed parts of South Sudan that suffer from food insecurity. According to OCHA, humanitarian aid will not be entirely successful until the conflict ends and allows organizations like UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee access to the malnourished people of South Sudan.

Thus far, 95 aid workers killed in South Sudan, 25 of which were killed in 2017. These unfortunate acts are the ones that hinder NGOs and other organizations’ abilities to send aid.

Aid Contributions

UNICEF has treated more than 600,000 people in South Sudan for malnutrition and aims to give about $183 million in aid during 2018. Furthermore, the World Bank’s South Sudan Emergency Food and Nutrition Security Project plans on giving about $50 million to help supply food and assist farmers in increasing their crop yield. Finally, the International Rescue Committee has helped in South Sudan by establishing clinics focused on addressing health-related issues, including malnutrition.

While these organizations and others are fighting malnutrition in South Sudan, violence has greatly affected their ability to assist. Constant warfare has left villages and farms deteriorated and has strained the already limited amount of food.

Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, voiced his concern for the future of South Sudan when he and Lowcock initiated an appeal for an additional $1.5 billion in funding to combat the worsening conditions in South Sudan.

“The conflict is purging South Sudan of the people who should be the greatest resource of a young nation. They should be building the country, not fleeing it,” Grandi said. “For as long as the people of South Sudan await peace, the world must come to their aid.”

– Austin Stoltzfus

Photo: Flickr

sustainable agriculture in LiberiaAgriculture is the backbone of any economy, but this is particularly true in Liberia. Over 80 percent of Liberians live in poverty, earning less than $2 per day. They rely heavily and primarily on small-scale subsistence farming for their income, nutrition, food and survival.

After decades of internal conflict, sustainable agriculture in Liberia was left unattended by policy and programs, thus very little positive change occurred. Farmlands shrunk, water resources were mismanaged and the distribution and production of food suffered. Liberia was also one of the countries hit the hardest by the Ebola virus, which took a toll on its agriculture.

Set of Challenges

A number of challenges have prevented sustainable agriculture in Liberia. From poor pest management and  lack of technology to the limited use of fertilizer and modern-day cultivation methods, Liberia lacks good quality farm inputs. Furthermore, due to poor road networks and high transport costs, there is little incentive to produce food beyond subsistence levels.

The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project

The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP-Liberia) is a regional project supported by the World Bank and Japanese Government. It has helped fund the resuscitation of the Central Agricultural Research Institute, which is Liberia’s only agricultural research institute. Badly damaged during the country’s civil wars, this institute will support young Liberian scientists who have come to serve Liberia’s Ministry of Agriculture.

This project, funded by the World Bank, is looking to support sustainable agriculture in Liberia by progressing research in technology, production of adaptive seed adaptive and regulatory policy.

Climate Change Adaptation Agriculture Project

Since climate change has such a huge impact on agriculture, the Climate Change Adaptation Agriculture Project aims to increase the resilience of poor, agriculturally-dependent communities and decrease the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to climate change in Liberia. One of its major accomplishments has been addressing the deforestation in Liberia that has led to unsustainable agriculture practices such as charcoal/fuelwood production for energy in cooking and drying, logging practices and unsustainable mining practices.

In collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Energy Technology and Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia, this project has piloted production and use of energy efficient cookstoves and ovens for drying fish in Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount County.

These two projects are just some of the ways sustainable agriculture in Liberia is slowly but surely healing from years of turmoil and misuse. These efforts can create a better Liberia for both the land and its people.

– Kailey Brennan

Photo: Flickr

laws aren't enough to end povertySocial justice does not work like a movie. Even if a climactic event results in the removal of unjust systems, the after-effects of injustice persist decades after the fact. Though apartheid was eliminated decades ago, South Africa still sees stark divisions between the living conditions of blacks and whites. These divisions continue due to economic barriers, and reveal that laws are not enough to end poverty or prejudice.

The removal of apartheid laws brought several economic opportunities to poor, black South Africans. Unfortunately, this victory did not change ownership of land and capital from its predominantly elite white holders. Without a solid foundation for business creation, few black men and women could find substantial gain pre- or post-apartheid. Even in 2016, ten percent of South Africans own 90 percent of the nation’s wealth, and that ten percent is mostly white.

In an attempt to house black South Africans, the African National Congress built townships around major cities. Though these townships settled close to major centers of business, they were not business centers themselves. With no money flowing into these government-owned lands, the townships became ghettos with dangerous buildings and poor education. South Africa’s unemployment rate neared 28 percent in 2017 and more than half of the black population is officially unemployed.

In a 1997 Regional Review article, Ed Glaeser of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston examined the creation of ghettos, and found features of segregated areas that apply all over the world. Concentrating resources in cities brings great wealth only to those working there. When certain areas of a city are deprived of incoming wealth due to artificial barriers, like in a township, racial tensions increase. An expanding economy in the 2000s doubled the size of South Africa’s black middle class, but the financial crisis of 2008 destroyed that decade’s gains.

Though Glaeser based his studies on American ghettos, his findings easily apply themselves to South African townships. “The ghetto walls themselves, not any increase in racism they may engender, thus seem primarily responsible for the poor black outcomes associated with increased segregation,” he stated. Both black and white South Africans consider themselves victims of racism. 44 percent of whites and 73 percent of blacks believe that the two races will never trust each other.

So what has helped South Africans escape destitution? Though laws are not enough to end poverty, they can create situations that allow people to overcome their struggles. In 2014, South Africa cut the rate of extreme poverty in half. In a press release from 2014, the World Bank credits this victory to redistributed income through tax benefits. Through a progressive tax system and an investment in infrastructure, South Africa achieved higher poverty reductions than Brazil, Mexico, or Argentina that year.

The fight is not yet over. The World Bank concludes its press release with the notion that, “reducing poverty and inequality further in a way that is consistent with fiscal sustainability will require a combination of better quality and more efficient public services but most importantly greater employment opportunities.”

The New York Times compared South Africa post-apartheid to Europe post-WWII. Both regions had to rise from adversity by re-engineering their economy and challenging the legacy of colonialism. Just as the Marshall Plan restored Europe to prominence, so might foreign aid bring South Africa to the glory it seeks. Although laws are not enough to end poverty, persistent intervention from other countries could help.

– Nick Edinger

Photo: Flickr

Development Projects in Laos
The small, landlocked country of Laos is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia. Home to 6.6 million people, Laos is also a fast-growing emerging market that registered 7 percent GDP growth in 2016. The Laotian government is embarking on ambitious development projects to build up new infrastructure and energy sources in the least developed country in the region. Here are five development projects in Laos:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Livestock and Economic Development Project

In northern Laos, the ADB is helping empower local women by providing them with livestock so that they can economically sustain themselves and their families. The Livestock Development Project disburses $16.5 million through various regional projects across the country, with funds contributed from the ADB and other international aid agencies. Ever since it began in September 2006, the project has helped women play more important roles in their families and local communities.

The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP)’s Climate Change Readiness Project

The U.N.’s Green Climate Fund is supporting the Laotian government in seeking solutions to climate change and improving the county’s access to renewable energy. The UNDP has pledged a funding programme as part of its Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme, an 18-month project designed to help local stakeholders across the government and different sectors of the economy to reform the agricultural sector, forestry and environmental practices in local communities. Environmental development projects in Laos arising from the programme will hopefully aid Laos in its fight against the effects of climate change.

High-Speed Rail Link to China and Thailand

As part of the high-profile “One Belt, One Road” initiative, China is investing $6 billion on a rail line connecting Thailand to the southern Chinese city of Kunming — with 420 kilometers running through Laos, connecting towns and cities throughout the country. While the project will surely increase connectivity, the rail line has been criticized for its displacement of locals living along the line, including the eviction of over 4,400 Lao families from their homes. While only 14 percent completed, the project has provided employment for over 7,000 local Lao workers and is contributing to infrastructure development in the poorly connected country. The line is one of many high-profile development projects in Laos currently under construction, including major hydropower plants.

The World Bank’s Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project

The Mekong River is one of the longest rivers in Southeast Asia, and is an important water source and vital artery in Laos and neighboring countries. The World Bank’s Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project seeks to coordinate closer collaboration between Laos and its neighbors on access to water in the Lower Mekong Delta, particularly in improving the management of water resources and fisheries in the densely populated region. The initiative also includes development projects in Laos to improve the sustainability of the Mekong river basin’s water resources and improve the management of floods.

The World Bank’s Health Governance and Nutrition Development Project

The World Bank is expanding access to health and improved nutrition in Laos by contributing $15 million in additional financing to healthcare development projects in Laos. The funding will support the modernization of healthcare information systems and efforts to increase access to reproductive care, maternal care and healthcare for children. Since launching in 2015, foreign governments including Australia and Japan have since pledged $5 million for an immunization drive and reforms in the healthcare sector in Laos.

Laos is relying both on international organizations and aid groups as well as on its wealthiest and largest neighbor, China, in pursuing both economic development and a way out of poverty for millions of its citizens. Expanded access to healthcare and water resources through World Bank projects are just two of many development projects in Laos as the country pursues greater human development to go along with its rapid pace of economic growth.

– Giacomo Tognini

Photo: Flickr

Five Facts About Development Projects in South SudanSouth Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, sits along one of civilization’s oldest landmarks: the Nile River. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan. Its path to stability and sustainability has not been easy.

The South Sudanese government originally planned to use its oil-rich regions to stabilize and grow the country’s economy, but due to disagreements with Sudan, oil production was shut down in 2012. Since then, civil war and rouge militias have ravaged the people of South Sudan, causing a humanitarian crisis. However, this has not slowed the success of aid in the nation. Here are five facts about development projects in South Sudan.

  1. Development projects in South Sudan see long-term international aid. In 2014, the British government allocated 442 million pounds for the development of South Sudan. Instead of directly involving itself in the process, the government has allowed various international aid organizations to use the money to carry out their missions on its behalf. These organizations include the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Danish Refugee Council and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Over 60 percent of spending was allocated to providing food, medical supplies and material aid. The project is on track to end in 2020.

  2. The South Sudanese health services are overwhelmed and underfunded. According to the World Bank, the South Sudanese Ministry of Health is underfunded. As a result, the World Bank began a project in 2016 to help the South Sudanese government cope with its rising need to provide healthcare to its citizens, called the South Sudan Health Rapid Results Project. Funding has been set at $40 million. The project has succeeding in providing healthcare to South Sudanese citizens in the Upper Nile conflict area, an area that only a few development projects in South Sudan continue to work.

  3. Food security is in jeopardy. Food is in short supply in South Sudan, and the World Bank has attempted to alleviate the crisis with a food and agriculture project in 2016. The project is called Southern Sudan Emergency Food Crisis Response Project. Overall, this project has had mixed results when measured against its target goals. It has reached its target for farmers adopting new technologies to increase output and surpassed its goal of constructing new food storage facilities. However, less than half of the targeted families have been helped by their funding. Unfortunately, this project did not receive funding again in 2017, but the infrastructure it created and the new technologies introduced will help drive development in South Sudan for years to come.

  4. May 4, 2017, saw the approval of the South Sudan Emergency Food and Nutrition Project. The project was granted $50 million and is set to run until July 2019. Its goals are similar but more comprehensive than the previous food aid project. This time, more focus is being given to the re-engagement of farmers, which is exceedingly important for the stability of the country’s food supply. Using the infrastructure and technologies of the last project will help provide the basics for the beginning of this new development project in South Sudan. To compensate for the shortcomings of the last project, more funding has been given to focus on supplying food while the farmers begin to produce their new crops.

  5. South Sudan development has improved at the community level. USAID is providing support to South Sudan at the community level, focusing on the availability of safe and sanitary drinking water and the health and education of children. Manual water drills and pumps are being provided to villages around the country along with education on waterborne illnesses. To protect and educate children, USAID has implemented three programs. The first aims to protect the rights of children against child-labor and provide equal access to education for boys and girls. Encouraging nonviolent play is another implemented program which focuses on keeping children away from violence. Safe spaces for children are often hard to come by in war ridden nations. With the third program, USAID seeks to provide more of these spaces for children to receive medical treatment away from conflict.

Conflict has displaced 2.2 million South Sudanese citizens. Fortunately, the world has not forgotten about its newest country. International aid will continue to help fund development projects in South Sudan, hopefully leading the nation and its people to a brighter better future.

– Nick DeMarco

Photo: Flickr

Education in Antigua and BarbudaIn the middle of the Caribbean is the small nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Beginning in the 15th century, following Christopher Columbus’ famed “discovery” of the Americas, the two islands of Antigua and Barbuda were eventually incorporated into the British Empire as a colony in 1632.

Since then, of course, quite a lot has happened. From the lucrative sugar plantations, to the emancipation of slaves in 1834, to the attainment of full independence from the British in 1981, the history of these small islands has been anything but dull.

Currently, the islands are home to a population of 94,731 people, the majority of whom reside in the capital city of St. John’s. It is there that a rich cultural history has developed since the islands’ colonization nearly 400 years ago.

Being a colonized nation, it should be no surprise that the majority of individuals living there are descended from Africans brought to the islands by slave traders. As such, like many of the surrounding Caribbean islands, the culture is a distinct combination of communities whose collective identity is now known as Creole.

Most of the population follow “creolized” cultural norms which vary greatly from their origins, but continue to hold some important distinctions from traditional European cultural norms. Women in Creole societies hold a distinct position, as the family lineage is always carried through the mother’s name.

This matrifocal norm has had a profound effect on the number of women in the workplace, and more importantly, the number of women who participate in education in Antigua and Barbuda.

Education in Antigua and Barbuda has had some successes. The adult literacy rate has been nearly 99 percent for the past decade, according to UNESCO statistics. This is mainly the result of mandatory school enrollment for all children aged five to 16.

Additionally, there seems to be a rather interesting phenomenon regarding girls’ primary to secondary school enrollment in that the older the students get, the more girls there are in proportion to boys. From 2012 to 2015, secondary enrollment was reported as having a higher number of girls than boys.

Though the reason for this is not known, it has led to a rising enrollment of women in universities over the same time period. Since 2009, women have outnumbered men in universities by almost a 2:1 ratio. Perhaps it will not be long before the number of women in Congress (currently at 11 percent) rises as well.

However, the reality is that less than 15 percent of the population continues on to university. The World Bank, among others, has claimed that the reason for this discrepancy in education in Antigua and Barbuda is a reflection of the poor quality of education during the mandatory years of schooling.

Here again, women occupy a vast majority of teaching positions. Yet, with just 2.6 percent of federal income allotted to education, finding experienced, dedicated teachers who could teach the skills necessary to continue on to university has become increasingly difficult.

Education in Antigua and Barbuda has accomplished many good things, including nearly universal literacy and gender equality. By building on these successes, it can ensure that all students are learning the skills they need to fulfill their potential.

Katarina Schrag

Photo: Flickr

Education in Sao Tome and PrincipeLocated off the western coast of Africa is Sao Tome and Principe, where primary school is mandatory. The adult literacy rate in the country is 74.9 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook.

The quality of education in Sao Tome and Principe has been on the rise since 2014 due to the implementation of its Quality Education for All Project, which addresses the needs to improve the qualifications of teachers and get grants from organizations such as Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the World Bank to support the project.

The main purpose of the project is to ensure that more teachers are trained properly. It also aims to make sure that there are more teachers available because, in the past, students have heavily outnumbered teachers.

According to GPE, around 60 percent of teachers are underqualified. The country seeks to remedy this through the project, as well as its Educational Policy Charter, which seeks to “Implement a…high-level training policy for teachers and other education officials to address the quality and efficiency challenges within the education system”.

The World Bank approved $3.5 million for the project just shortly after its implementation in May 2014. The GPE approved $236,600 for the development of the charter and $1.1 million for the project. The funds will be spent on increasing the quality of education in Sao Tome and Principe.

“The education sector has been and remains a priority in public spending in Sao Tome and Principe. Despite important achievements, the education system faces challenges with respect to efficiency, quality and governance,” said Gregor Binkert, World Bank Country Director for Sao Tome and Principe. “This project will help to bridge this gap and will ensure that the children in Sao Tome and Principe are learning the basic skills that will help them achieve a brighter future.”

The funding is also going to benefit schools. They will see technological upgrades as well as new purchases of materials for use in the classrooms, according to the World Bank.

Because of the grants, the country has seen multiple teacher training sessions and has made progress in various areas. The program has trained 26 preschool teachers and a teacher mentoring program was offered to teachers in every primary school.

“The interventions supported by the project will contribute to better teacher training and improvements in the quality of learning in pre-school and primary school for all children in Sao Tome and Principe,” said Geraldo Joao Martins, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. These strides are paving the way to an increase in the quality of education in Sao Tome and Principe.

– Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr

Pulse of South Sudan ProjectThe World Bank has proclaimed that the Pulse of South Sudan Project Initiative is a technological revolution that is completely changing the way poverty data is collected. It notes that “The world has an ambitious goal to end extreme poverty by 2030. But, without good poverty data, it is impossible to know whether we are making progress, or whether programs and policies are reaching those who are the most in need.”

Typical poverty data collection, often in partnership with organizations and agencies from the United Nations, UNICEF or the World Bank itself, is through household surveys and policy analysis. National statistical offices set out with pen and paper questionnaires to interview respondents, the data gathered is transferred to a computer database and a poverty rate is calculated. While technology can help streamline the process and eradicate any flaws or errors made when collecting answers to these poverty-based questions and translating them into percentages and national averages, it is still an incredibly impersonal and isolating process.

What the Pulse of South Sudan Project Initiative does when collecting data is that when household surveys are conducted, short, personalized testimonials are also recorded. This is a significant difference from the common data collection process because these short testimonials allow the data to have a face behind it. It reveals how these statistics can relate to life and life experiences.

The Pulse of South Sudan Project is also more formally called the High Frequency South Sudan Survey (HFSSS). By recording testimonials, the project captures livelihoods alongside important consumption patterns. When capturing the livelihoods of South Sudanese citizens, their perspectives on life can be better understood and policy can be better created and implemented for these citizens.

As the project’s homepage states, “the HFSSS aims to fill the lack of reliable data on South Sudan. This data can provide feedback to the government from their citizens and identify stresses early on.”

The project has limits that constitute room for growth and improvement. South Sudan is a conflict-stricken area and its three most affected areas have not yet been recorded by the project, therefore it is not yet providing a fully national perspective.

In spite of the beginning limitations, the project initiative still manages to give a voice to an impoverished community that is otherwise among the least acknowledged and represented. It is a landmark survey that has numerous implications that are exciting for the future of data collection in general. This future of poverty data collection begins in South Sudan, but can lend an ear to impoverished communities globally that otherwise feel left in silence.

Gabriella Paez

Photo: Flickr

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon Drops for First the Time in Three YearsThe relationship between deforestation and poverty has long been interlinked and mutually destructive. Forests directly contribute to the livelihood of 90 percent of the world’s poor.

Forests cover one third of the world’s landmass and serve vital purposes around the globe, including regulating the atmosphere and providing shelter, sustenance and survival to millions of people. However, since 1990, the world has lost 1.3 million square kilometers of forest, an area larger than South Africa. When combating this injustice, it is important to note that the world’s forests are very unevenly distributed. Brazil holds the world’s second largest share of forests, with approximately one quarter of the world’s total.

The Brazilian Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and it is “vital to the well-being of the peoples on our planet,” according to Rodrigo Medeiros, Vice President of CI-Brasil. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has long plagued the nation’s people, environment and economy.

Seven institutions, including the Brazilian Ministry of Environment and the World Bank, have joined together for the largest restoration effort ever made in Brazilian forests. The efforts to reverse the rampant deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is proving to be effective; the region’s deforestation fell by 16 percent in July 2017 compared to the previous year. This is the first decline in three years.

This decline is an indication that Brazil is making strides towards its climate change targets and towards a more prosperous and sustainable environment, which is essential for the eradication of poverty.

The multifaceted response to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is “helping Brazil demonstrate that it is possible to preserve the forest, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and at the same time strengthen the local communities,” said Martin Raiser, World Bank Country Director for Brazil.

The harmful relationship between deforestation and poverty requires that both be targeted individually in order to halt the cycle of deprivation across the globe. Forests help us breathe, provide shelter, foster biodiversity, regulate temperatures, influence weather patterns, prevent flooding, refill aquifers, block wind, stabilize Earth’s foundation, purify the air, provide nutrition, supply medicines and create jobs. When any of these life-saving advantages of forests are compromised due to deforestation, it is the world’s poor whose health and livelihood suffers most. It is imperative that the fight to end poverty, as well as the fight to sustainably manage forests, both continue without impeding each other.

Jamie Enright

Photo: Flickr