Feature Story

Under an ongoing collaboration between the GEF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and NGO People in Need, Cambodia’s push for nation-wide disaster preparedness has been boosted with the installation of new water-level stations and engagement with communities in the flood-prone coastal provinces of Koh Kong and Sihanoukville.

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How community action is helping vulnerable marine mammals stage a comeback in Madagascar.

Life is slow in Andranomavo. Here, surrounded by mudflats and mangroves, time is governed by the tides and the seasons. When to go fishing, when to plant and harvest the rice—these are the markers that matter.

But the current of change is running through this tiny community in Madagascar’s Nosy Hara Marine Protected Area, one of 20 villages in northern Madagascar embracing incentive-based conservation as a strategy to preserve and restore the region’s natural heritage.

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Local handicrafts and specialties are helping build a climate-resistant future for Madagascar’s coastal communities.

“When I was younger, everything was normal, even the rain,” Vivienne Rakotoarisoa reminisces. “But nowadays everything is irregular. When we start planting, the rain doesn’t come anymore.”

In days past, family life in Madagascar’s Vatovavy Fitovinany region followed the seasons. Rice seeds were always sown in October to coincide with the onset of the rainy season. But today, the seasons are unpredictable.

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The challenges and achievements experienced by coastal fisheries communities spanning three continents was the topic of discussion last month in Guayaquil, Ecuador at the GEF Coastal Fisheries Initiative Global Inception Meeting.

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Mr. Dolores Solís, a farmer in Los Asientos, Panama, is part of an organisation that is transforming the Panamanian ranching sector by promoting the use of stainable practices.

Although small in territory, Panama is a country of immense natural wealth: great biodiversity, abundant water resources, rich soil, and huge tracts of tropical forests. However, these vital natural resources require careful management and use in order to prevent environmental degradation.

Heart and Soul

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How improved weather forecasting and observation is helping the Comoros face a changing climate.

The children playing in the school grounds in Diboini, a hilly central area of the Comoros’ main island, pay no attention to the gated area housing unremarkable-looking metal structures.

But in the capital Moroni, staff at the country’s meteorological service are thrilled with what these machines comprising automatic weather stations are doing: generating reliable forecasts to help the country now, and gathering crucial information to predict its future.

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Ali Omar remembers a time when the practically bare patch of desert in northern Djibouti he calls home was a bustling seaside resort and the waters around it were teeming with fish. “Lots of people lived here and they had shops all along the seaside,” says 75-year-old Omar, recalling his hometown Khor Angar’s 1970s heyday, before it was hot year-round and the village had dwindled to just a few huts in the desert.

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As the name suggests, a crop wild relative (CWR) is a wild plant species related to a domesticated crop. For centuries crop wild relatives have provided farmers with the genetic material to improve the nutritional quality of crops, enhance productivity, and provide cultivated varieties with resistance to pests and diseases. Their value in increasing crop yields worldwide has been estimated at as much as US$ 115 billion per year. In addition, the conservation of crop wild relatives has become even more critical during a period of climate change.

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All life on Earth depends on water. For those who grow crops to live, however, it is especially important. 

After decades of war, Afghanistan’s economy, and the lives of many of its people depend on agriculture. In the countryside, agriculture, irrigation, and production support the basis of rural life.

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Without knowing about the weather and why it was changing, the people in the village of Jappineh in The Gambia’s Lower River Region would plant the same seeds in the same soil and hope for the best. When harvests increasingly failed, in an area where deforestation, raging bush fires, more severe river flooding and prolonged drought have degraded land and caused fertile topsoils to disappear, disappointed farmers becoming desperate to feed even their own families started giving up hope.

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