Reduced Inequalities: France Is Giving $61,900,000 to Help People in Syria #sdgs #globalgoals

suffer

By Joanna Prisco, for Global Citizen

After seven years of strife and an estimated 400,000 deaths, Syria’s Civil War shows no signs of resolution. But renewed aid efforts from Europe may help those struggling to survive there.

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said France would contribute 50 million euros ($61.9 million) toward humanitarian aid for Syria, reported Reuters.

“This evening I brought together NGOs working on the ground in Syria. Faced with the humanitarian situation, France is setting up an emergency programme of 50 million euros,” Macron stated on his verified Twitter account.

Following a chemical attack in Douma last week, France had already deployed a humanitarian medical shipment via Turkish authorities, according to France Diplomatie, and participated in US-led airstrikes on suspected chemical weapons facilities, as reported by the New York Times.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stated earlier this year that “from a humanitarian standpoint, the US has been a massive donor to this situation.”

But last month President Donald Trump suspended $200M funds allocated for recovery efforts, as reported by Politico.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is so dire that officials have lost track of how many people have died, according to the New York Times.

The new injection of French funding will be designated toward organizations already operating in Syria, such as the U.N. office for humanitarian affairs.

Macron’s meeting at Elysee presidential palace gathered together two dozen NGOs, including Action Aid, Handicap International, the Red Cross, and Care.

Climate Action: Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron Are Taking on Climate Change Together #sdgs #globalgoals

cm

It was last June that the US, the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, announced it was leaving the Paris Climate Accord.

Now, the leaders of Canada and France are joining forces to combat climate change together.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron met in Paris on Monday to confirm a partnership in the fight against climate change.

The countries agreed to work more closely on tackling targets laid out in the Paris Agreement, according to a press release  from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“France and Canada today pledge to redouble their efforts and increase their co-operation,” Trudeau said in French at a news conference with Macron. “This initiative will encourage and accelerate the achievement of the Paris Agreement targets through concrete measures to make this agreement in principle a reality.”

This partnership on climate and the environment will include pushing measures like securing global carbon pricing, encouraging energy efficiency and reducing emissions in transport sectors.

Canada is hosting the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, this June, and will hand over the G7 presidency to France in 2019.

Canadian officials hope that the other G7 countries will follow the Canada-France example and continue trying to reach the targets set out in the Paris agreement, according to the Canadian Press.

The Canadian government is also using this moment to prove that Canada is serious about tackling climate change.

France has voiced concerns around the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and its investor-protection clauses that could result in feebler environmental rules, according to the Canadian Press.

“Whether it’s environmental protection or freedom of expression or other things, Canada and France are well aligned. Canada and Europe are well aligned,” Trudeau said at the news conference. “And CETA is a progressive trade agreement that truly reflects those protected values and represents a new standard for all future trade agreements.”

Trudeau and Macron also announced a new cultural initiative between the two countries.

On Monday, Trudeau met with Isabelle Hudon, ambassador of Canada to France and Monaco, and Melinda Gates, the co-chairs of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council.

The group discussed ways to encourage economic growth that benefits everyone, which will be a key theme at the G7 summit in Charlevoix.

Good Health & Well-Being: Hunger Is Making the World Less Stable, New Report Shows #sdgs #globalgoals #2030Now #hunger

hunge

You see it in the headlines: Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria – the world is experiencing a rise in conflict, instability and human suffering. More people are currently displaced from their homes because of violence, conflict and persecution than any other time since the World War II. One of the consequences is that we’ve seen an uptick in the number of hungry people on the planet for the first time in over a decade.

That war and conflict produce poverty and hunger is something that we’ve long understood – it has been proven in every major sustained violent confrontation in human history. By some accounts, more people died in World War II from starvation than from fighting. What we are learning in the context of modern crises is that hunger is not simply a byproduct of war, but can be the root cause of instability. From competition over land and water for food production to violent protest in urban centers from food prices spikes, food-related instability features in many modern conflicts.

Food security is a fundamental requirement of any stable society. Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas once said: “Show me a nation that can’t feed itself, and I’ll show you a nation in chaos.” More and more countries today face this precise challenge. Over 124 million people are in need of lifesaving humanitarian food assistance today, up from 80 million just two years ago.

Hunger produces profound desperation, the type that can cause a parent to put a child in a raft on a perilous journey to Europe; or that forces a young man with no income, limited opportunity and a hungry family to pick up arms for a cause he doesn’t even believe in. In a comprehensive review of the work on this topic, a new report from World Food Program USA shows that food insecurity has been empirically linked to at least nine separate types of instability, ranging from protest to interstate conflict, with terrorism and civil war in between.

When we think of food-related instability, food riots very often come to mind. Food riots have played a role in the French Revolution and have been captured in headlines worldwide for generations – pasta riots in Italy, tortilla riots in Mexico, bread riots in the Middle East. Americans spend only 10 percent of their income on food, while citizens in the world’s poorest countries spend closer to 60 percent. Global food price spikes can have major effects on political stability in these settings.

Food price spikes were responsible for social unrest in at least 40 developing and middle-income countries in 2008 in what has been termed the “silent tsunami.” These spikes and the resulting unrest are widely recognized as leading to regime change in Haiti during this period. A second wave of price spikes owing to agricultural commodity production shocks in China and Russia in 2011 has also been linked to the rise of the Arab Spring in the Middle East.

We also see food-related instability playing out in conflicts between pastoralists and farmers over dwindling agriculture resources and territory. This is the modern story of the African Sahel. In the decades leading up to the 2003 outbreak of war in Sudan, for example, the Sahel region of northern Sudan had witnessed the Sahara Desert advance southward by almost a mile each year, forcing Arab herders into ethno-African farming communities and producing unrest.

Price spikes and resource competition are increasingly driven by the impacts of climate change. Climate change disproportionately impacts the agricultural sector –especially in the global south – and is the subject of a growing body of research on the climate-conflict nexus. It is estimated that 80 percent of agricultural production in developing countries does not employ any form of irrigation.

In the lead-up to the civil war in Syria, more than 1 million farmers were affected by crop loss from long-term drought. One author called this “the worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago.” As a result, the southwestern city of Daraa, situated in one of the traditionally fertile areas of Syria, saw a large influx of migrants and was one of the first sites of social unrest in the country in 2011.

Meanwhile, the rise of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria has been linked by some to prolonged drought conditions in the Lake Chad Basin of West Africa. In recent decades, the water surface of Lake Chad has shrunk by over 90 percent compared with its size in the 1960s, contributing to a loss of livelihoods and threatening food security in the region. Climate impacts are expected to worsen as the Earth faces a 3 degrees Celsius rise in mean temperature in the coming decades, forcing another 122 million people into poverty and hunger.

Modern crises are almost never driven by a single cause. But when food insecurity meets with poor governance, a lack of economic opportunity and existing societal grievances, the conditions for conflict to emerge – or re-emerge – can be met.

Legislation has also been introduced to encourage further collaboration between the traditional “instruments” of U.S. foreign power – defense, diplomacy and development – in order to tackle these same root causes.

Breaking the cycle of hunger and conflict is among the great challenges of our day. Doing so, however, begins with acknowledging the link between food insecurity and global instability. Surely, one of the best investments we can make in global stability is to help people who can’t feed themselves or their families.

With the rise in state fragility and a proliferation in conflicts involving non-state actors, the U.S. defense and intelligence communities are beginning to turn their eyes toward non-traditional security threats and root causes of instability like food insecurity. As a salient example, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command, said in the AFRICOM 2018 posture statement to Congress, “None of Africa’s challenges can be resolved through the use of military force as the primary agent of change. Therefore, our first strategic theme is that AFRICOM activities directly support U.S. diplomatic and development efforts in Africa.”

This article originally appeared on Malnutrition Deeply. You can find the original here.

Partnerships For the Goals: Gates, Jolie, the Obamas: These Are the Most Admired People of 2018 #sdgs #2030now #globalgoals

ad

Gates and Jolie beat out former presidents, royals and Oprah to claim the top spots.

YouGov recently released their annual study highlighting public figures people look up to the most. The list includes celebrities, activists as well as former and current world leaders.

The survey queried 37,000 people from more than 35 countries to determine who are the women and men our world hails as most admirable.

Entertainers rounded out most of the top 20 for women, while businessmen, politicians and athletes dominated the top 20 for men. Many of these men and women work to tackle global issues and have left a lasting impact on the world.

The World’s Most Admired Women

Angelina Jolie

Angelina-Jolie.jpgAngelina Jolie poses for photographers upon arrival at the BAFTA Film Awards, in London, Feb. 18, 2018.
Image: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

While famous for her work as an actress, Jolie has also committed her life to humanitarian efforts. As a Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, she focuses on preventing and punishing sexual violence.

Michelle Obama

michelle obama ap .jpgImage: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The former first lady’s transformative work includes the launch of Let Girls Learn , an initiative that helps educate girls around the world.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah-Golden-Globes-MeToo.jpgImage: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/AP

Aside from being a general beacon for empowerment of everyone, everywhere, Oprah stole the show at the Golden Globes with her powerful speech on the #MeToo movement.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen-Elizabeth-Social-Share.jpgBritain’s Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd in Ascot, England, June 22, 2017.
Image: Alastair Grant/AP

The Queen recently waged a war on plastic in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of royal households.

Hillary Clinton

clinton dnc victory ap.jpgImage: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

As a former secretary of state and presidential candidate, Clinton has spent her life breaking glass ceilings and advocating for the rights of women both domestically and abroad.

Emma Watson

emma watson UN Women malawi.jpgUN Women/Karin Schermbrucker
Image: UN Women/Karin Schermbrucker

Watson is a dedicated advocate for the UN’s HeforShe campaign working to promote gender equality.

Malala Yousafazi

2017-Women-Malala.jpgImage: Mark Garten/UN Photo

As the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala is staunch advocate of education as a basic human right and uses her own organization and voice to empower girls around the world.

Read More: 15 Times That Malala Nailed It

Priyanka Chopra

GCF17_PriyankaChopra_DanielDorsaForGlobalCitizen102.jpgImage: Daniel Dorsa 

Chopra advocates for girls’ causes and education as an ambassador for both Girls Up and Girls Rising and through her own foundation.

Madonna

madonna-woman-of-the-year (1).jpgImage: Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

When not pushing musical boundaries, pop icon Madonna works to end extreme poverty among orphans in Malawi.

Gal Gadot

gal gadotImage: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

Gal Gadot is a Wonder Woman both on and off screen: She uses her platform to raise funds to build schools and take a stance on the importance of education.

Angela Merkel

Angela MerkelImage: Michaela Rehle/Pool Photo via AP

Merkel made headlines with her open door refugee policy that took in millions fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

The World’s Most Admired Men

Bill Gates

AP_17128846109365_Bill_Gates_AP Photo_Nati Harnik.jpgImage: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

As the founder of both Microsoft and the world’s largest private charity, Gates promotes global development and tackles issues in health and education.

Barack Obama

Barack_Obama_Birthday_FINALS_011.jpgImage: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Having ranked first in 19 of the countries surveyed, the former president continues his legacy as a leader of global change

Jackie Chan

J-C-jackie-chan-18739719-1280-960.jpg

Considered one of Asia’s premier philanthropists, Chan has founded multiple charities focused on expanding educational opportunities for children.

Dalai Lama

DalaiLama WikiCommons.jpgImage: Yancho Sabev / Wikimedia Commons

The spiritual leader and activist is renowned for his peaceful approaches to global relations and attempts to end human rights violations.

Warren Buffet

Warren BuffettImage: Fortune Live Media / Flickr

While he donates billions to charity, philanthropist Warren Buffet also uses his status to advocate for ending global poverty.

David Beckham

david-beckham-coiffed-hairstyles-for-men.jpg

Michael Jordan

mj

Jordan actively contributes to charities that target and help at-risk youth.

Pope Francis

Pope-Francis.jpgPope Francis waves as he leaves the Shrine of Our Lord of the Miracles after a mid-morning prayer with contemplative nuns, in Lima, Peru, Jan. 21, 2018.
Image: Rodrigo Abd/AP

Pope Francis has brought ending poverty and eradicating injustices to the forefront of his mission as head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City.

Lionel Messi

lm.jpg

Messi’s charitable work includes building classrooms in Syria so more than 1,600 displaced children can return to school.

Imran Khan

The Pakistani politician’s foundation works to engage and mobilize local communities through better access to basic services.

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at ratification of Paris Agreement on Climate Change with the UNImage: AP Photo/Manish Swarup

Modi has made humanitarian efforts central to his role as Prime Minister of India by making improvements to health and education a priority.

Environment & Poverty: This Brazilian City Is Solving Plastic Waste and Poverty at the Same Time #sdgs #globalgoals #2030Now #

china-garbage-recycling

“For me it is empowering – it has given me work and given me a social life.”

The statistics about global plastic pollution are shocking. An estimated 1 million plastic bottles are bought each minute. As a result, the average person consumes more than 70,000 microplastics, which can leak into food and water, each year. The amount of plastic in the ocean is on pace to triple in the next decade. The list goes on.

Sometimes lost in the deluge of facts about plastic pollution are the human beings affected by it — especially those living in extreme poverty.

In Brazil, where more than 50 million people still live below the poverty line, the poorest people often bear the brunt of plastic pollution. Plastic pollutes life-sustaining rivers, leads to diseases, and floods poor communities that lack proper waste collection infrastructure, The Guardian reports.

But despite ever-rising plastic pollution, villagers in one Brazilian community are showing that there’s hope. With the help of the NGO Tearfund and a local church outreach project called Instituto Solidare, residents of the city of Recife are fighting back against plastic pollution — by turning trash into treasure.

In Recife, where poverty and crime are rife, an army of plastic collectors is cleaning up the community of Coqueiral and turning plastic collection into a full-time job, according to The Guardian report.

Women sell handbags, jewellery, and toys they fashioned out of plastic waste; schoolchildren collected waste and turned it into a House of Trash; many others collect plastic and sell it to collection companies at a rate of about 50 cents for every 50 plastic bottles.

“We are putting a lot of work into researching the market and looking at trends and trying to make sure we can make a business out of what we are doing,” one woman, Olga Gomes, said. “For me it is empowering – it has given me work and given me a social life.”

Residents have also organized marches to protect the local river, the Tejipió, from plastic waste, and to lobby for the government to institute waste management policies that protect people living in poverty.

“The situation here in this community, where life is already incredibly hard, has been getting worse,” Evandro Alves, a community leader, told The Guardian. “We are are seeing more and more plastic being used and thrown away, and it stops here in their community. So we decided to mobilise.”

In Brazil, a rising global economy, the problem goes beyond plastic pollution. According to a 2011 report, Brazil produces nearly 150,000 tons of metric waste each day.

Residents have called on the Brazilian government to implement a solid waste management regulatory policy, which it failed to pass in 2010.

The Guardian reports that the movement to turn plastic into profits has spread to other poor communities around the world — including Nigeria and Mozambique.

Elsewhere, plastic is being turned into everything from roads, to houses, to art, to shoes. While these communities aren’t literally turning trash into treasure, they’re coming pretty darn close.

Environment & Climate Change: This Florida Teen Just Planted 400 Trees to Save Florida’s Coastline #sdgs #globalgoals #treeplanting

fl

And he did it by reusing yogurt containers.

When Hurricane Irma struck South Florida last fall, it uprooted countless native mangrove trees that help prevent coastline erosion.

But thanks to one local teen, a few yogurt containers, and a makeshift rooftop garden, more than 400 trees have now been saved and replanted.

Theo Quenee, an 18-year-old Miami native, first spotted the uprooted mangrove seedlings scattered throughout his neighborhood after the storm.

“The debris was going to be picked up by the city and immediately it just struck me, all of these mangroves are going to die [during the cleanup process],” Queenee told Weather.com.

So the Florida International University freshman gathered as many seedlings as he could in his backpack and, after multiple trips, brought more than 500 plantings to his mother’s home.

“Florida’s estimated 469,000 acres of mangrove forests contribute to the overall health of the state’s southern coastal zone,” according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, providing “protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans and shellfish. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster and shrimp.”

Read More: Hurricane Irma Left 2 Manatees Stranded. Then 5 Floridians Came to the Rescue

Using skills he had learned in marine science classes in high school, Quenee created a makeshift greenhouse out of recycled yogurt containers he tended on the roof of his mother’s home.

“I live in an area with a lot of trees,” Quenee explained to MNN.com, “so the roof of my house was the only place that got the sunlight… I knew that they grew best with humidity, so I designed a simple greenhouse with a big platter and a five-gallon bucket.”

Fast forward seven months of constant watering and care, 400 mangroves remained and were at last strong enough to be planted.

Following the advice of NOAA scientists he had contacted for help, Quenee chose a new location for the trees to continue growing that is rich in soil nutrients, according to Weather.com. Along with a group of friends, he constructed a PVC pipe grid and replanted the trees in a handful of days.

Time will tell how many are able to survive on their own in their new home.

“The area I planted them in is pretty rich in nutrients,” Quenee told weather.com. “It has good muddy soil and a good amount of water so I think they’ll be doing well where they’re at.”

Life On Land: Colombia Just Protected More Than 30,000 Square Miles of the Amazon Rainforest #sdgs #2030Now #globalgoals

amazon

“It is unprecedented — it has not happened anywhere else, any other place at least that I know.”

BOGOTA, April 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Indigenous communities that depend on Colombia’s Amazon rainforest for their survival will have more say over their ancestral lands, as Colombia adds 8 million hectares to its protected areas in an effort to stem forest loss.

The new measures announced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday aim to create a buffer zone for the country’s southern Amazon region.

Farmers are pushing deeper into forests, cutting down more trees to clear land for cattle-grazing and agriculture.

Santos said the protected areas will be marked off in the next two weeks, meaning that “once and for all, we (will) know where we can farm, produce – and from what boundary we will protect all the forests and the entire Amazon”.

This brings the total area of protected forests in Colombia to nearly 40 million hectares, Santos said in a speech in the Amazon town of Leticia, flanked by indigenous tribes and Norway’s prime minister and environment minister.

Norway, a key financial backer of Colombia’s forest conservation efforts, said the new buffer zone was important to meet Colombia’s goals of zero net deforestation by 2020, and halting the loss of all natural forest by 2030.

“It is unprecedented – it has not happened anywhere else, any other place at least that I know,” Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s new minister of climate and environment, said on this week’s visit.

Reducing deforestation is crucial in the fight against climate change, Elvestuen added.

When forests are degraded or destroyed, the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, with deforestation accounting for 10 to 15 percent of carbon emissions worldwide.

Under a decree signed by President Santos, Colombia’s Amazon tribes will be able to decide through their own community councils how to spend government development funds in three provinces.

“Indigenous people have traditionally shown themselves to be the best keepers of rainforests,” Elvestuen told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

Norway said it would extend an agreement with Colombia by five years to 2025 under which Colombia gets payouts for meeting verified targets to reduce emissions by slowing deforestation.

Colombia will receive up to $50 million a year through 2025 under the deal, which could run until 2030, the minister said.

The payments are usually distributed to farmers, as well as community and indigenous groups and local environment authorities working on forest protection.

Colombia is home to rainforest roughly the size of Germany and England but is struggling to protect it. Deforestation rates in its Amazon region increased by 44 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Elvestuen said they could rise again in 2017 and 2018.

Swathes of forests are being felled in areas vacated by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as part of a 2016 peace deal signed with the government.

As the government tries to regain control of former FARC strongholds, farmers, illegal loggers and organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking and illegal mining are tapping into new places, including in the Amazon, Elvestuen said.

Colombia’s top court earlier this month told the government to come up with plans within four months to combat rising deforestation in the Amazon.

Responsible Production And Consumption: People Are Getting Paid to Reuse Plastic Bags in Malaysia #sdgs #globalgoals #2030Now #recycle

pl.jpg

Tesco gives Kuala Lumpur customers discounts every time they reuse their bags.

By Michael Taylor

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – British supermarket group Tesco has launched a scheme in Malaysia based on bags with barcodes, giving customers discounts on their shopping every time they reuse the bags.

The “unforgettable bag” was launched in 11 Tesco stores in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur and the southern state of Johor on Tuesday in an effort to shift away from single-use plastic bags and reduce waste.

Azliza Baizura Azmel, a director at Tesco Malaysia, said 70 percent of customers have their own carrier bags but leave them in the car rather than bringing them into the store.

“That’s why we thought of the idea of the unforgettable bag – it’s a bit of a push for them,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The new bags will be sold for 0.50 ringgit ($0.13) each, and customers will get a free replacement if the bag is torn or damaged. Tesco will offer customers a cash rebate of 0.20 ringgit ($0.05) for every bag reused.

Each year between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used globally, according to industry estimates, with fewer than 10 percent recycled. Many end up in the world’s oceans or dumped in landfill.

More than 8 million tonnes of plastics enter the ocean each year, and marine experts fear there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, measured by weight.

Plastic degrades over time into tiny particles which are ingested by marine life, harming the food chain and environment.

In an attempt to cut down on waste and single-use plastic, many supermarkets around the world charge customers for plastic bags, promote reusable bags, and offer free recycling services.

Meanwhile, more than 40 countries have banned, partly banned or taxed single-use plastic bags, including parts of Malaysia and India, China, France, Rwanda, Italy and Kenya.

The “unforgettable bag” is made from a recyclable plastic that is more durable than conventional plastic bags, Tesco said, and sports a turtle, fish or whale design to highlight the risks plastic waste poses to sea creatures.

The Tesco trial – the first of its kind by a major hypermarket in Malaysia – limits the bag discounts to two per transaction.

The scheme will be extended to all Tesco’s 56 stores in Malaysia from June 1. If a success, the retailer hopes it will be adopted by other Tesco stores across Asia.

The barcoded bags are a starting point towards phasing out all plastic bags from Tesco shops in Malaysia, said Azmel

Every Malaysian on average throws away 300 plastic bags a year, according to the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association.

Von Hernandez, global coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement in Manila, welcomed the Tesco initiative but said governments and business in Asia needed to do more.

“We’ve seen governments – whether at city or national level – take action to restrict the use of single-use plastics,” said Hernandez. “That has to be matched by the corporate sector.”

“There is increasing momentum for similar restrictions in many parts of the world because this crisis is growing.”

($1 = 3.8610 ringgit)

Environment & Climate Change: The Sea Is Swallowing Up Homes in This Senegal City #CoastalErosion #sdgs #sealevel #oceanrise #2030no2 #climatechange

senegal

A scheme backed by the World Bank aims to resettle 10,000 residents from the coast of Saint-Louis.

By Nellie Peyton

SAINT-LOUIS, Senegal, April 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – “Mum, mum, get up – the water’s here!”

Fatou Ndiaye’s children shook her awake in the night, as waves crashed against their house on the coast of Saint-Louis, a city in northern Senegal.

They were used to sleeping with the sound of the ocean a few feet away – but this time Ndiaye stretched out her hand and felt water rising inside the room. They fled.

Two weeks later, she told the story standing by a pile of rubble where her childhood home used to be.

The disaster surprised no one in this crowded fishing neighbourhood. Since 2016, two or three times a year, the ocean has swelled and knocked another row of houses off the coast.

Saint-Louis, a city that spans a thin peninsula between the Senegal River and the Atlantic Ocean, is particularly vulnerable to the rising sea levels and urban crowding that are putting pressure on West Africa’s coast.

With damage now unavoidable, Senegal’s government and the World Bank are mobilising to resettle nearly 10,000 people from the city’s riskiest zone.

The effort reveals the challenges other countries will also face as their shorelines retreat due to a combination of higher seas linked to global warming and coastal erosion driven by natural processes and manmade factors, such as poorly planned infrastructure and sand mining.

In Saint-Louis’ dirt streets, crisscrossed with laundry lines and filled with sheep, residents described their predicament.

“They took people to Khar Yalla, but Khar Yalla is not good,” said Ndiaye, referring to a temporary relocation site about 6 km (4 miles) inland that now houses about 1,000 people.

Not wanting to go to a place where most people are living in tents without electricity or running water, she instead moved in with neighbours whose house was still standing – but could be the next to go.

Other residents near the water’s edge said they were afraid and ready to leave, but had not received help.

“For two years now, the water has been rising. It doesn’t recede,” said Soda Mbengue, eight months pregnant, walking through her shell of a home.

“The government told us they’d come here to help us, and give us houses, but up until today we’ve seen nothing,” she said. Water seeps into her bedroom all the time.

FISHERMEN COMMUTE

Tourists still stroll through art galleries in the centre of Saint-Louis, the former French capital of colonial West Africa, but it is in the poor neighbourhoods, just across a short bridge, that buildings are disappearing into the ocean.

A school and a large mosque have already succumbed to the waves, with pupils redistributed to other packed classrooms.

Khalifa Faye, 21, was among the first to lose his home to a storm, two years ago. After living in a tent for a few months, he and his family were given a small concrete house at the relocation site in Khar Yalla.

“In the beginning it was bad. We didn’t know this place,” said Faye, standing in a yard where his aunts made couscous and children played. Now he is happy, he said, though he wishes they had plumbing.

But other residents, especially those newly displaced, were less content. The temporary settlement sits on the side of a highway, surrounded by barren fields.

Tauty Fall lifted the flap of a blue canvas tent to reveal a small space where she lives with her husband, their five children, and another family. “Life is not good here,” she said.

Almost all the men earn a living from fishing and must now commute to the sea, said their wives. They take a bus for 150 CFA francs ($0.30) but in the off-hours they have to take expensive taxis.

Deputy Mayor Balla Gueye said the people shifted to Khar Yalla are living in “precarious, very difficult conditions”. The city is working to provide them with better temporary lodging, such as mobile homes, before the permanent relocation scheme gets underway, he added.

In the meantime, the government is ordering more tents.

Another 59 families lost their homes in the most recent storm at the end of February, and some don’t even have a canvas roof yet, Gueye said.

WEST AFRICA FUNDING

The World Bank project in Saint-Louis aims to relocate about 10,000 people at a cost of $30 million. It covers residents within 20 metres of the waterline on a 3.5 km stretch of shore, said the deputy mayor.

But erosion threatens thousands of kilometres of coast from Mauritania to Gabon. About 105 million people live in West Africa’s coastal areas, which generate 56 percent of the region’s gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.

In some places, the land is receding as much as 10 metres a year, it said.

To deal with the larger problem, the bank has launched a West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA), with a first funding round of about $220 million due to be approved this month.

The money will be used to build sea walls and other defences, plant vegetation along shores and support communities, said Benoit Bosquet, WACA manager at the World Bank. But it will not be enough to move everyone out of harm’s way.

“When it comes to relocation, it’s very tricky,” Bosquet told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It’s not clear that we will have the time or money sufficient to do relocation everywhere.”

Saint-Louis has identified a few potential plots where the 10,000 people at risk or already displaced could move, and is negotiating with neighbouring communes for the land, said Ousmane Sow, director of the regional development agency.

In the best-case scenario, houses could be built and people relocated within two years, he said.

“We are counting on the state,” said Faye in Khar Yalla – a sentiment echoed by others who have already seen their homes disappear.

But Sow anticipates challenges in resettling people the water has yet to reach. “We will have to convince them,” he said.

One of the potential relocation sites is close to Saint-Louis, but the city may not be able to seal a deal for the land, he said.

Another option is about 30 km away. It is close to the sea, so fisherman would not have to travel too far.

But it is only a matter of time – perhaps several decades – before the water arrives there too, Sow said.

Life On Land: 10 Jane Goodall Quotes to Celebrate the Environmental Leader’s Birthday/Life/Legacy #environmentalActivism #environment #sdgs #globalgoals

jd

The legendary primatologist just turned 84.

Jane Goodall, one of the world’s foremost primatologists, spent much of her life studying chimpanzees, interacting with the animals on a more personal level than anyone before her. Her ground-breaking work challenged numerous taboos in animal science and opened the door for scientists to research the social lives of all kinds of animals.

In bridging the divide between humans and animals, Goodall’s work also shed a new light on the human condition — one that directly connects people to nature. So, in honor of the scientist, conservation activist, and environmental leader’s 84th birthday, here are 10 of Jane Goodall’s most inspiring, thought-provoking quotes.

On human fallibility:

Here we are, the most clever species ever to have lived. So how is it we can destroy the only planet we have?

 

 

To me, cruelty is the worst of human sins. Once we accept that a living creature has feelings and suffers pain, then by knowingly and deliberately inflicting suffering on that creature, we are guilty, whether it be human or animal.

 

 

The greatest danger to our future is apathy.

 

 

I think empathy is really important, and I think only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our full potential.

 

 

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

 

Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.

 

To reconnect with nature is key if we want to save the planet.

 

If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls.

 

Chimpanzees, more than any other living creature, have helped us to understand that there is no sharp line between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s a very blurry line, and it’s getting more blurry all the time.

 

I do have reasons for hope: our clever brains, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and above all, the commitment of young people when they’re empowered to take action.