The Global Environment Facility (GEF) faces a demanding yet seemingly attainable task: to help countries foster a transformation in how individuals, communities, and businesses use and protect the natural word. But nothing less will suffice if we are to meet pressing environmental challenges and safeguard the global commons.
Today, on World Food Day, the global community is mobilizing to reach a Zero Hunger world. With a changing climate, inequality, and rapid population growth the challenges we face on the way seem insurmountable. However, with governments, private sector and individuals working together, we can achieve a world with enough food and water for everyone in a way that does not pollute rivers, turn forests into grazing fields, increase CO2 emissions, and cause species to go extinct.
Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in the West African Sahel, includes sparse and dry forests, woodlands, wooded and shrub savannas, and a large desert area to the North. The country relies heavily on agriculture, yet faces shrinking arable land and increasing soil degradation. Enhancing factors such as climate change and rising demand for land and natural resources in general are creating a downward cycle from which forest degradation appears as one of the particularly challenging consequences.
This autumn, the IPCC will publish its much-awaited special report on global warming of 1.5 degrees centigrade. For the first time, the world will have a clear scientific view of the rate and scale of emissions reduction is required if we are to avoid runaway climate change. It is expected to set out the systemic change needed to avoid the associated sea level rise, extreme weather, shocks to our food supplies and water, and setbacks in living standards if we fail to constrain atmospheric pollution.
Cities are one of the systems that need to be transformed.
We know that advancing gender equality is one of the systems changes needed to achieve environmental gains – in fact, it is shown to be a driver of progress across many Sustainable Development Goals - but there is a lack of data and evidence about what works to succeed in this complex area.
On August 12, we celebrate World Elephant Day to raise awareness on the plight of the world’s elephant population. This is an important day for me, as the Program Manager of the Global Wildlife Program (GWP) that started two years ago to combat illegal wildlife trade across 19 countries in Asia and Africa.
How did a chemical supplier in Mozambique learn that its safety instructions were putting women and children in danger? How could female clam harvesters in Tunisia come together to create the first women’s trade union and go onto change national law?
Over the last few decades, Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) have been used to build transportation, energy, telecommunications, and other infrastructure throughout the world. Value chains were established to foster growth in these sectors and significant experiences gained. A sector largely overlooked for PPP investments is the tourism sector.
People are already consuming at a rate faster than the planet can replenish. Yet the world’s population is expected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. This will considerably increase demand for energy, transport, buildings and food.
Our relationship with the ocean is at a crossroads. The decisions we take in the next five years will determine our future, our security, our very existence. They will make or break whole economies and dictate how and where we live. And there will be many more losers than winners should we ignore the stark signs of warming that the ocean is presenting.