Friday, 29 April 2011

Where to find information on the membership in international organizations

If you need to gather information on the membership of international and regional organizations or the participation of states to groups (G8 countries, developing countries, etc...) you can visit the  page of the CIA World Factbook.
This book, first launched in 1980, provides an outlook on the economic conditions of countries worldwide. Furthermore, by clicking on appendix B from the drop-down menu of the appendices section on the navigation bar you can access the information regarding the member countries of any international body:

- Drop-down menu from the appendices section -

Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries

The Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries will take place 9-13 May, 2011 in Istanbul,Turkey.
The conference will focus on:
1. The assessment of the the results of the 10-year action plan adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on LDCs held in Brussels, Belgium, in 2001.
2. The establishment of the new strategy for for the sustainable development of the LDCs in the forthcoming decade.

The UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) is the coordinator of the LDC-IV process. 

A report prepared by the so called Group of Eminent Persons, presented last 29th March, provides information on priorities and issues that should be a the basis of the new strategy to favour the ambitious target to help half of the current members of the grouping graduate by 2020. The proceedings will involve several stakeholders, including governments, international organisations, civil society organizations, scholars and the private sector.

Least Developed Countries according to the 2009 Triennial Review
Read more:1st draft of the programme released on 27th April

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Oil spills another menace for the unique environment of the Niger Delta

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico opened the eyes of the public opinion on the environmental risks tied with deepwater oil extractions. The explosion occuring on the Deepwater Horizon platform, last 20 April 2010, killed 10 people. Furthermore, the well released in the Ocean hundreds of thousands cubic meters of oil before being finally capped in September. The accident in the United States revamped the interest to the phenomenon in Nigeria. In Niger Delta, a region of creeks and mangroves about the size of South Carolina, oil spills are very frequent. Environmentalists have calculated an average of 300 accidents per year in the region. These are mainly due to leaks in the obsolete pipelines. Close to the elections, main firms operating in the region have promised to invest money in the modernization of  pipelines and refineries and to support the local communities setting up facilities with the large revenues deriving from the oil extraction. Let's hope the big companies will not go back on their promies after the poll.

Further info:
Nigeria: World oil pollution capital(BBC)
Oil firm projects showcased ahead of Nigerian poll
The Guardian - Oil spills

Monday, 25 April 2011

Good news from the delta of Niger to reduce gas flaring

Gas flaring is the natural gas burning associated with the  extraction of oil. Companies, operating in the Niger Delta, prefer to burn it rather than separate the gas from the oil it as as it commercially expensive to do so.

This procedure, not only wastes natural resources that could create additional revenues for the development of the local population, but also damages the ecosystem and heavily contributes to greenhouse gas emission at global level.New initiatives seem to address the problem, as also stated in a recent dossier on the Vanguard, a local Nigerian newspaper.

A joint venture between Shell Petroleum Development Company, and Eni Saipem Nigeria Limited will develop a pipeline system that will gather the gas, currently flared, for use in the domestic gas market.

When completed, these projects will extend the Associated Gas Gathering (AGG) facilities coverage to more than 90% of the associated gas produced in the Joint Venture operations.

Further reading:
Petroleum industry bill is becoming a flash in the pan - 2 June 2011
Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership
Justice in Nigeria now
NDPI Foundation
Environmental issues in the Niger Delta

Friday, 22 April 2011

22 April 2011 - Earth Day Celebration

The event is organized by the Earth Day Network, a structure with over 22,000 partners and organizations in 192 countries which pursues to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement through education, public policy, and activism campaigns.

Official logo of the 40th edition of the Earth Day
This year, Earth Day's focus is on the difference individual actions can make to the world's environment. The "A Billion Acts of Green" campaign aims to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before the UN conference on sustainable development which will be held the 4-6 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Present and future role of forest resources in the socio-economic development of rural areas

In occasion of the celebration of  the Year of Forests 2011, a two-day event to describe, analyze and discuss the role played by the forest sector in the rural development of European countries, will be arranged in Rome next 23rd - 24th of June.

For further details:

Download the Program (482.05 KB)
Download the Presentation (277.12 KB)

Friday, 15 April 2011

Zai in Sahel region. Successful story of re-greening the Sahara

According to an FAO classification based on average annual precipitation and agricultural features there are four different eco-climatic zones in the Sahel region:

Sahel Region

Sahelian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges between 250 and 500 mm. This zone is at the limit of perennial vegetation. In parts where precipitation is less than 350 mm, only pastures and occasional short-cycle drought-resistant cereal crops are grown; all cropping in this zone is subject to high risk.

Sudano-Sahelian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges from 500 to 900 mm. In those parts of this zone where precipitation is less than 700 mm, mostly crops with a short growing cycle of 90 days are generally cultivated predominantly sorghum and millet.

Sudanian zone: Where average annual precipitation ranges from 900 to 1 100 mm. In this zone, most cereal crops have a growing cycle of 120 days or more. Most cereals, notably maize, root and cash crops are grown in this zone.

Guinean zone: Where average annual precipitation exceeds 1 100 mm. Guinea-Bissau and a small area of southern Burkina Faso belong to this zone, more suited to root crop cultivation.

The zai method helps farmers cultivating crops in a region characterized by arid soils and limited rainfalls.
However, only the introduction of adequate policies and important investments in infrastructures could leverage the success of local initiatives in the implementation of effective food security strategies  at national scale. A number of important issues to be considered for future action were pointed out in the paper entitled Regreening the Sahel published by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD):

Lessons learned*

Policy changes are essential for the success of on-farm regreening in the Sahel, and the
process should continue. National policies and legislation must support farmer investment
in trees, and farmers should be granted exclusive rights to the trees in their fields.
A wide range of other factors can contribute to this process:

• substantial public support for private investment in soil and water conservation;
• improvement of trunk roads, which reduces transport costs and allows traders to send
their trucks to remote areas to buy new products;
• generally sound macroeconomic management, without discrimination against
agriculture and natural resources;
• substantial local capacity-building by NGOs and other stakeholders (technical,
organizational and management skills);
• government action to increase awareness of environmental problems and their

Further info also in the following blog:
Global Warming & Terra Forming Terra: Agroforestry Revolution in Sahel

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Illegal logging in the Philippines also a problem of law enforcement

Mindanao, second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines, is one of the most affected by the phenomenon.

In particular, Misamil Oriental and Caraga (at its right in the map) regions suffer  for the illegal slash and burn of trees, the kaigin as this practice is called in Tagalog, the Filipino language.
This method contributes not only to deforestation but also favours the risk of floods and landslides.
Illegal logging is not only a big environmental problem but also represent a violation for the rights of the indigenous population.

This illegal activity prospers also for the alleged support of corrupt port authority agents, local government and police officials.
Though several laws and regulations for the sustainable forest management exist at the central and regional government levels, NGOs and civil society associations blame the lack of law enforcement. Truckloads of illegally cut logs pass on national highways not only at night but even daylight. These logs then leave the country with cargo ships

It's emblematic the story reported by Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks), the UK based organization which advocates and promotes the collective and individual human rights of Indigenous Peoples and other land-based communities.

You could find interesting articles and video also in the
Philippine Native Forest Trees blog

Sunday, 10 April 2011

2011 declared Year of Forests by the United Nations

2011 has been declared  the Year of Forests by the UN General Assembly. The logo celebrating the event was designed to empathize the crucial role of forests for being at the same time shelter for people, habitat to bioversity, source of food, medicine and clear water.

A number of events have been arranged to celebrate this important occasion. On the FAO website there is an interesting section called Toolkit for communicators where it is possible to find videos, pictures, posters and banners together with several publications. In November, UNODC will arrange a workshop for Police, Prosecutors, Judges and Forest Rangers on the topic of criminal justice response to illegal logging in Indonesia.

The video "of Forests and Men" produced by the Good Planet Foundation is the official film of the International Year of Forests

For further information on the events arranged by the UN click here