Stories tagged: sustainability

International Day for Biological Diversity

22 May 2018

While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities.

This year’s International Day for Biodiversity theme will be: “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity”. The theme was chosen to mark the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity and to highlight progress made in the achievement of its objectives at the national and global levels.


Hashtags: #BiodiversityDay, #IDB2018

EU Development Days

5th – 6th June 2018

Brussels, Belgium

Organised by the European Commission, the European Development Days (EDD) bring the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

For its twelfth edition, EDD 2018 will aim at bringing together the European Union’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Gender equality and women empowerment are at the core of European values and enshrined within the EU’s legal and political framework. This is why the event will focus on the vital role of women and the need for their full and equal participation and leadership in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Hashtags: #SheisWe #EDD18

World Farmers’ Organisation General Assembly 2018

28th – 31st May 2018

Moscow, Russian Federation

Farmers are on the frontlines of weather events that challenge their work on a daily basis, putting in their production and revenues under threat. At the same time, the rapidly growing global population demands higher levels of food production, putting additional pressure on farming systems worldwide.

The WFO General Assembly will promote a thorough debate with the entire value chain, the research & development world and multilateral institutions on how to build a real farmer-driven agenda based on the best practices that farmers are already implementing, as practical solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation.


UN General Assembly on SDG Financing

11th June 2018

New York City, United States

UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak will convene an event titled ‘Financing for SDGs–Breaking the Bottlenecks of Investment, from Policy to Impact’.

This event is one of three main events related to the implementation of the SDGs that the UNGA President is organising in 2018. The other two focus on launching the International Decade for Action: Water for sustainable development 2018-2028 (22 March 2018) and youth (mid-May).



Video: How Big Business Can Sustain Our Soils & Environment

Farming First TV interviewed Fadhel Alansari, the General Manager of Manufacturing at Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company on the responsibility that the private sector has to play a role in protecting the environment, and providing enough for a growing population.

Mr Alansari commented that we must conduct research across all continents to determine want soils need in order to improve the nutritional value of food. Continue reading

We can grow enough food, but will it cost us the earth?

This blog was originally posted on CGIAR’s Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog

Optimism about the achievability of global food security was tempered by pessimism on man’s ability to achieve this without wrecking the earth’s natural systems at the Stockholm Water Laureate’s Seminar at World Water Week.

Kicking off with a quick romp through the global boundaries framework developed by Rockström et al, Johan Rockström was confident that sustainable levels of global freshwater withdrawals had not yet been breached, but that alarming trends would need to be addressed if this situation was to continue. In the new anthropocene era of human induced planetary change there was likely to be great uncertainty over rainfall patterns. That would create problems in pricing ecosystem services. It’s relatively easy to price water, said Rockström, less simple to price rain through the ecosystems services that contribute to it.

Colin Chartres, Director General of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) focused on three concrete examples of how agricultural water use could be sustainably intensified in a presentation looking at case studies of groundwater extraction in two contrasting Indian states and the potential for small holder water management innovation in rural Tanzania.

After further presentations by Professor Tony Allan of King’s College London, Professor Rita Colwell of the University of Maryland and Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestle, discussion centred on the best ways to promote sustainable stewardship of natural resources among farmers.

Calling for more investment in sustainable agricultural intensification, Dr. Chartres stated that “We can’t expect smallholders to be good stewards, if they can’t even feed their families.” He added that he was confident that, with proper incentives and improved incomes, farmers could be effective natural resource managers. “I have never met a farmer from the richest to the poorest who is not, in his mind’s eye, a good environmental steward,” he said

But Professor Allan urged caution, particularly in regard to intensification using irrigation. “Whenever you irrigate, you always run out of water,” he claimed, citing examples of the South Western US and Southern Spain. In dry years the temptation to draw more water is great leading to deficits over the long term. The need for stewardship and accounting is paramount if we are to make irrigation sustainable.

The panel then turned to water pricing as a means of promoting sensible use. “Water has no value in exchange, but an extremely high value in use,” according to Paul Bulcke. “This paradox has led to massive overuse of freshwater”

Professor Allan and Dr. Chartres had differing perspectives on how water pricing could address issues of sustainability. Dr. Chartres cited the example of the Murray Darling Basin in Australia as a compelling case for the effectiveness of water pricing. Water rights had been separated from land rights and made fungible, leading to a more sustainable approach to river basin management. This approach was challenged as being at too high a cost to the public purse by Professor Allan.

The session ended with an impassioned plea from IWMI’s Aditi Mukherji for the perspective of developing countries to be given more weight (none of the panellists came from a country in the poor South). As an example Dr. Mukherji pointed out that her research had convinced her that water pricing was not politically feasible in India, whereas water rationing is accepted. Such insights will be vital in developing tailor made local solutions to global sustainable intensification in agriculture.

Watch videos of the session here

About the Author:

James Clarke is Head of Communications for the International Water Management Institute.  He has worked for over a decade in communications for development in Africa and Asia.