Science and Technology Literacy (dgAlert)

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Science and Technology Literacy

“The discussion about scientific and technological literacy that has gone on for two decades has yielded important results, and has influenced educational systems in many countries. This blog posting, however, suggests that the benefits have not extended to the half of the world’s population who live on less than $2 dollars a day, who spend little time in schools, and who have few opportunities for continuing education. Yet their traditional and local knowledge systems need to be more fully informed by the natural and social sciences and modern technology. Poor people need often to replace harmful superstitious beliefs with more accurate and useful understanding of the natural world, society, and human-built technological systems which form their environment. Schools should do more to prepare children of the poor in poor countries for lifetime learning, including how to operate and maintain technology, how to design solutions to problems, and how to get good information. It is hoped that people will join into the discussion by adding comments to this blog posting. John Daly, Thoughts About K4D, March 20, 2007.

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Agriculture and Natural Resources in Laos (dgAlert)

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Governance Issues in Agriculture and Natural Resources in Laos

“This case study highlights a few key issues affecting the performance of the agriculture and natural resources sector in Laos. Major concerns include corruption and its consequences, deficiencies and inconsistencies in the legislative framework and its implementation to manage common property natural resources on a sustainable basis, inadequately supervised and largely unaccountable state-owned enterprises, and a number of policies that appear to be biased against the interests of the rural poor (including ethnic minorities).”

African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS)

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African Center for Technology Studies

“ACTS is a Nairobi-based international intergovernmental science, technology and environmental policy think-tank that generates and disseminates new knowledge through policy analysis, capacity building and outreach.
The Centre strives to rationalize scientific and technological information to enable African countries make effective policy choices for improved living standards. ACTS works with partners and networks including academic and research institutions, national governments, UN bodies, regional and international processes and NGOs. ACTS’ research and capacity building activities are organised in five programmatic areas: Biodiversity and Environmental Governance; Energy and Water Security; Agriculture and Food Security; Cross-Cutting Issues; and Science and Technology Literacy. Its members include the the Governments of Kenya, Malawi, Malta, Uganda and Ghana, as well as the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).

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Threats for top rivers (dgAlert)

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Going nowhere fast: Top rivers face mounting threats

20 Mar 2007
Gland, Switzerland – Rivers on every continent are drying out, threatening severe water shortages, according to a new WWF report.

“The report, World’s Top Rivers at Risk, released ahead of World Water Day (22 March), lists the top ten rivers that are fast dying as a result of climate change, pollution and dams.

“All the rivers in the report symbolize the current freshwater crisis, which we have been signalling for years,” says WWF Global Freshwater Programme Director Jamie Pittock.

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Rural development in Morocco (dgAlert)

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Survival, Change and Decision-Making in Rural Households: Three Village Case Studies from Eastern Morocco

“Elhouafi and Taghilast are poor communities where rainfed cereal production and extensive livestock-rearing are practised in increasingly degraded natural environments. In spite of the many similarities between the two villages, the case studies reveal a number of important differences in terms of (i) survival strategies, (ii) perceptions and priorities, (iii) environmental circumstances, (iv) community organization and (v) the role of women in the household economy and in decision-making. The situation in Oulad Lfqir is, in turn, different from that of other, similar villages with irrigation-based economies, owing to a single critical variable: river pollution.

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Output-Based Aid in Water (dgAlert)

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Output-Based Aid in Water: Lessons in Implementation from a Pilot in Paraguay (May 2005)

“Paraguay’s aguateros—small private water companies— form an important part of the water sector, serving about 9 percent of the total population (or about 17 percent of those with piped water supply). But until recently they operated only in urban areas, where water resources are abundant and they could choose customers based on their ability to pay the full costs of providing service. A new World Bank–funded initiative seeks to attract aguateros and construction firms active in the water sector to unserved rural areas and small towns by providing an output-based aid subsidy, awarded through competitive bidding. The initiative is the first attempt anywhere to apply this approach to rural and small-town water sector investment. This Note reviews the early lessons.”

IFAD in Morocco (dgAlert)

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IFAD in Morocco

“Since 1979, IFAD has financed nine rural development projects in Morocco, for a total of US$146.3 million. Four of the projects are ongoing. The first generation of projects, over the period 1979 to 1986, focused mainly on increasing rainfed and irrigated agricultural production on a nationwide basis, developing opportunities for short-term and medium-term credit for poor farmers. The second generation of projects, focused mainly on marginal areas and included many types of activities such as soil and water conservation, upgrading rural roads and infrastructure — particularly water supplies— and institution-building and support. Third-generation projects are built around the objective of socioeconomic development in poor regions where rainfed agriculture is the main source of income. Design and implementation focus on active participation by rural poor people in rural investment projects, and on accountability for implementing and maintaining planned activities, to ensure their sustainability. IFAD’s 1999 strategy in Morocco consolidates and supports the government’s work in combating rural poverty. IFAD supports efforts to: give priority to communities’ development needs and strengthen poor people’s participation in decision-making; promote food security nationally and among poor households by diversifying production and promoting products that have a comparative advantage in national and international markets; strengthen decentralized planning and implementation, by supporting local and civil society institutions; improve rural poor people’s access to productive resources such as land, water, technical expertise and financial services; IFAD projects and programmes target areas with poor agricultural potential in mountainous zones, rangelands and arid zones in the south. Participation by communities, particularly women and young people, is central to the strategy.”

Agriculture, poverty and aid

Agriculture, poverty and aid

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Across the globe 1.2 billion people live in absolute poverty. Of these, almost 300 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of these people are small-scale farmers and livestock keepers.

The European Commission’s (EC) aid programme should offer hope in the face of this crisis, yet it is failing to reach those who need it most. Urgent reforms are required to avert future humanitarian crises and conflict.

African Voices in Europe exposes the failures of EC aid to reach farmers and livestock keepers across Africa, and explores how EC aid could be more effectively targeted to achieve its objective of poverty reduction.

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At the end of 2002 I launched an electronic network for people interested in all aspects of desertification and poverty. In 2006, this network had more than 1000 members. It has been taken over by the secretariat of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) of the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) for a period of 6 months (until the end of 2006). Today, looking for opportunities to network organisations and individuals with interest in desertification, I use this blog to send personal contributions and collected information to the internet.

This blog aims at bringing all these people closer to one another, as they all have the same attention for the desertification and poverty problems.

I will try to bring a sort of historical review of the most important contributions to the PEOPLE FOR ACTION network. I am convinced that, looking back to the last years, we will find a lot of data to be reviewed in the light of recent events.

Today, I convey my introduction to “INFO 001” to you. It was my opening statement of the network.

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L’Assemblée des Jeunes Wallons pour l’Environnement

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L’Assemblée des Jeunes Wallons pour l’Environnement,
c’est reparti !

Le 17 mai 2006, soixante jeunes se sont réunis pour la première fois au Parlement wallon. Ils y ont présenté leurs actions, adressé leurs demandes et voté un programme d’actions de la jeunesse en faveur de l’environnement !


Travail des jeunes parlementaires
Pour évaluer et actualiser ce Programme d’actions, l’élargir à de nouveaux thèmes et à de nouvelles propositions, une deuxième assemblée se réunira au Parlement wallon le 25 avril 2007. Une première rencontre préparatoire s’est déjà tenue ces 19 et 20 janvier, vous pouvez lire le résumé! Les rencontres suivantes sont programmées les 28 février et 28 mars après midi.



Promotion du programme d’actions
Les jeunes parlementaires de l’année passée désirent partager leur réflexion et faire connaître leurs propositions. Ils souhaitent que d’autres s’engagent aussi dans la protection de l’environnement. C’est pourquoi, durant l’année scolaire 2006-2007, GREEN Belgium lui donnera une visibilité à travers l’organisation d’évènements thématiques. Ce 26 janvier 2007 , il y a eu une représentation d ‘ une pièce de théâtre-action sur la consommation, vous pouvez lire le récit de cette activité.




Global Deserts Outlook (UNEP)

 Found at 

CHAPTER 3: Deserts and the Planet – Linkages between Deserts and Non-Deserts

Lead author: Uriel Safriel
Contributing authors: Exequiel Ezcurra, Ina Tegen, William H. Schlesinger,
Christian Nellemann, Niels H. Batjes, David Dent, Elli Groner, Scott Morrison,
Danny Rosenfeld, Uzi Avner, Noah Brosch, Avi Golan-Goldhirsh, Pinchas Alpert,
Boris A. Portnov, Rex Cates, Robin P. White, Anastasios Tsonis, Moshe Schwartz,
Yoram Ayal, Berry Pinshow, Dan Cohen, Thomas Deméré, Haim Shafi r,
Andrew Warren, Emanuel Mazor






“This chapter addresses the linkages and interactions between deserts and the rest of our planet. While desert climate is controlled by processes taking place outside deserts, processes in deserts also affect climate away from deserts. Deserts and non-deserts are linked by dust generated in deserts that travels away from deserts, and rivers that originate outside deserts dramatically affect deserts while flowing through them. People from outside deserts migrate or visit deserts, while desert people export minerals and fossil energy to non-desert economies. Deserts also serve as corridors through which goods travel and cultures are exchanged, and desert corridors serve bird migration and locust invasions. Finally, though most deserts are remote from leading centres of science, research carried out in deserts has enriched knowledge of the history of our universe and planet, of life on earth, and of peoples and their cultures.”

Spread of Desert and Mediterranean Exodus

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Let me strongly recommend this website to all people interested in desertification (see link under BLOGROLL in the right column) ! Double click that link.

Spread of Desert “May Cause Mediterranean Exodus”

Turbulent Issues by ·

via Planet Ark

ATHENS – Parched land could trigger a mass exodus north from the Mediterranean if the long-term effects of climate change, construction and farming are not checked, a Greek environmental official warned on Tuesday.

Swathes of Greece are also in immediate danger of becoming permanent desert, said Professor Costas Kosmas, head of a government committee set up to battle desertification.

Desertification is a slow-moving process and once we realise it is happening it will be too late to go back,” Kosmas told Reuters in an interview.

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