#India; #Lightningstrike; #DeathOfWildElephants; #Asia; #ForensicTests
Guwahati, India/Canadian-Media: A massive lightning strike might have caused the death of a herd of eighteen wild Asiatic elephants in India's eastern state of Assam, local officials said on Friday.
Wild elephants. Image credit: Unsplash
On Thursday the villagers found dead bodies of fourteen adult elephants, and another four bodies were found scattered on the foothills of the Kundoli reserve forest area of Assam, about 100 miles from the state capital of Dispur, M.K Yadava, local wildlife official told Reuters, NBC News reports said.
A high-level inquiry into the incident was ordered by the state government ordered on Friday, Parimal Suklabaidya, Assam's forest and wildlife minister added.
A local forest ranger, not authorized to speak to the media found the dead bodies of elephants and said it was possible that the elephants were killed by a lightning strike late on Wednesday, adding he had seen burnt trees in the area.
But based on social media images, prominent conservationist Soumyadeep Datta, from environmental activist group Nature’s Beckon, said that was unlikely.
“Poisoning could be behind the death of the elephants,” Datta told AFP news agency. “We have to wait for the autopsy report, which the forest department will do soon,” Alja Zeera news reports said.
Home to nearly 30,000 elephants, about 60 percent of the wild Asiatic elephant population in India. Of them, Assam is home to an estimated 6,000, who constantly come out of the forests in search of food.
The government of Assam has been urged by the conservationists that encroachment of people should be prevented and to establish free corridors for the elephants to move between forests safely.
In recent years, villagers have been killed and crops had been destroyed by wild elephants.
#NewYorkBronxZooTiger; #coronavirus; # WildlifeConservationSociety; #USDA; #BronxZoo
New York, Apr 6 (Canadian-Media): Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York, has become the first of her kind, to test positive for the coronavirus after developing a dry cough, media reports said.
We stand for Wild Life. Image credit: Wcs.org
Nadia is expected to recover, the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo said in a news release.
Samples from Nadia were taken and tested after the tiger, and five other tigers and lions at the zoo, exhibited symptoms of respiratory illness, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). No other animals at the zoo are showing symptoms.
"Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers," the zoo said."It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries."
The Covid-19 testing on Nadia was performed in a veterinary school laboratory and is not the same test used for people, Dr. Paul Calle, the zoo's chief veterinarian, posted on Facebook.
The animals were infected by an asymptomatically infected zoo employee caring for them, according to the zoo. The Bronx Zoo has been closed to the public since March 16.
USDA advises anyone sick with the coronavirus to minimize contact with animals, including pets, until more information is known about the virus, the USDA said.
#Pakistan, #UNEP; #WorldEnvironmentDay2021; #EcosystemRestoration
Nairobi/Canadian-Media: Pakistan announced today that it will host World Environment Day 2021 in partnership with the UN Environment Program (UNEP). This year’s observance of World Environment Day will be on the theme of ‘ecosystem restoration’ and focus on resetting our relationship with nature. It will also mark the formal launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021 – 2030.
Pakistan to host World Environment Day 2021. Image credit: UNEP
World Environment Day takes place every year on 5 June. It is the United Nations’ flagship day for promoting worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental public outreach and is celebrated by millions of people across the world.
Making the announcement on the margins of the virtual Fifth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), Pakistan’s Adviser to Prime Minister and Minister of Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, joined UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen to acknowledge the urgency of preventing, halting and reversing the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.
Led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Government of Pakistan – in one of the world’s most ambitious afforestation efforts – plans to expand and restore the country’s forests through a 10 Billion Tree Tsunami spread over 5 years. The campaign includes restoring mangroves and forests, as well as planting trees in urban settings, including schools, colleges, public parks and green belts. Pakistan has launched an Ecosystem Restoration Fund to support nature-based solutions to climate change and facilitate the transition towards environmentally resilient, ecologically targeted initiatives covering afforestation and biodiversity conservation.
Recently, the Prime Minister of Pakistan launched the Protected Area Initiative to develop 15 model protected areas across the country to conserve over 7300 sq km of land area and create over 5,500 green jobs
“The Government of Pakistan is fully committed to playing a leadership role in addressing the issue of climate change, including through the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative, which will restore and enhance over 1 million hectares of forest across the country," said Minister Aslam. "We are honored to host this year's World Environment Day and lend our support to global restoration efforts."
As host of World Environment Day, Pakistan will highlight environmental issues and showcase the country’s own initiatives and its role in global efforts. The day will be celebrated across the world through various events and activities, in line with latest COVID-19 regulations.
“2020 was a year of reckoning, facing multiple crises, including a global pandemic and the continued crises of climate, nature and pollution,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “In 2021, we must take deliberate steps to move from crisis to healing: and in so doing, we must recognize that the restoration of nature is imperative to the survival of our planet and the human race.”
“Pakistan has shown real leadership in efforts to restore the country’s forests; we are grateful for their commitment to host World Environment Day 2021 and lead the charge for all nations to restore our damaged ecosystems through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration,” she added.
The UN Decade is intended to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems to fight the climate crisis, prevent the loss of a million species and enhance food security water supply and livelihoods.
Reviving natural carbon sinks – such as forests and peatlands – could help close the climate emissions gap by 25% by 2030. Replanting with native tree species can also help buffer some of the expected devastating effects of a warming planet, such as increased risk of forest fires. Currently, 3.2 billion people – 40% of the world’s population– suffer from the continued degradation of ecosystems, for example by losing access to fertile soil or safe drinking water.
The UN Decade runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified critical for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
To achieve restoration at the required scale, incentives and financial investments must be made in changing the way lands and oceans are exploited, in research and education, and in inspiring a movement of people, businesses and governments through celebrating success stories.
#Canada; #Desertification; #LandDegradationNeutrality; #OnePlanetSummit; #UNCCD
Bonn, 13 January 2021 – Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Ibrahim Thiaw welcomes the announcement that the Government of Canada is set to invest up to 55 million Canadian dollars in the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund.
Land Degradation Neutrality. Image credit: unccd.int
The Fund supports private sector projects in developing countries that use sustainable land management techniques to restore degraded ecosystems and adapt to green economies.
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, announced the commitment at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity held Monday, January 11, in Paris, France, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in cooperation with the UN and the World Bank.
“The Canadian investment comes at a particularly opportune time. The finance will leverage additional public and private sector resources for sustainable land management targeted at projects in low-and middle-income countries. This will ensure new economic activity and value chains emerge from rural areas as we build back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Investing in the LDN Fund is an effective way to help terrestrial ecosystems and local populations to bounce back,” says Thiaw.
The One Planet Summit aimed at building momentum for action on nature protection and at underlining the potential to build back better from the COVID19 pandemic.
The LDN Fund is an impact investment fund. The fund aims at blending resources from the public, private and philanthropic sectors to support achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN) through sustainable land management and land restoration projects implemented by the private sector.
For more information about the LDN Fund, contact: Camilla Nordheim-Larsen firstname.lastname@example.org.
#Camels, #Australia; #DroughtHitAreas; #CullingOfCamels
Sydney (Australia), Jan 14 (Canadian-Media): Culling of more than 5,000 feral camels over the last five days has been completed by Australia as these camels were a threat to the survival of indigenous communities in drought-hit areas of southern Australia, media reports said.
Camels in Australia. Image credit: Phys.org
he aboriginal leaders said that the large herds of the non-native camels driven towards rural habitats not only threatened scarce food and water in the arid region, but was also a threat to the infrastructure and posed a hazard for the drivers.
The culling was carried out by helicopter-borne marksmen in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands -- home to 2,300 indigenous people -- and completed on Sunday, said APY general manager Richard King.
"We appreciate the concerns of animal rights activists, but there is significant misinformation about the realities of life for non-native feral animals, in what is among the aridest and remote places on Earth," King said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said the camels were responsible for introducing pests and the valuable water supplies for communities needed to be protected from them.
Prolonged dry periods is well tolerated by native wildlife, is distressful for feral camels, King said.
In 1840s the British had imported around 20,000 Indian camels to Australia to explore the interiors of Australia.
#UN; #UNEP; #GlobalPhosphorousChallengs; #ClimateChange; #Hunger; #GreenhouseEmissions
UNEP/Canadian-Media: “It is unacceptable that hunger is on the rise at a time when the world wastes more than 1 billion tonnes of food every year. It is time to change how we produce and consume, including to reduce greenhouse emissions,” says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
Algal Bloom. Image credit: Wikipedia
The Secretary-General will convene a UN Food Systems Summit in 2021 to launch bold new actions to transform the way the world produces and consumes food, delivering progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
For decades, synthetic fertilizer – containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – has been used all over the world to increase crop yields. Plants need phosphorus to grow but using too much of it can harm the environment.
The global phosphorus cycle is broken, experts say – in some regions of the world too much phosphorus is being added to soils to grow food, contributing to nutrient pollution of lakes, rivers and coastal ecosystems. Elsewhere, farmers can’t access enough phosphorus to meet food demands. As the global population grows, the global phosphorus cycle must be re-mapped to ensure sufficient food for all whilst reducing costly environmental damage.
Where phosphorus use has been high, losses from agricultural land and through human waste have led to the pollution of fresh waters and coasts with excess nutrients, a process called eutrophication.
Humans are reliant on clean and safe freshwater and coastal ecosystems. They provide clean drinking water, protein and livelihoods to large numbers of people. So, preventing phosphorus pollution of these sensitive ecosystems is vital for sustainable development.
Eutrophication causes harmful algal blooms, which can now be viewed from space, and contributes to global scale biodiversity loss, oxygen "dead zones" threatening fisheries, and the contamination of drinking water supplies.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and others, such as the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management, are calling for better management of phosphorus for the benefit of people and planet.
“There are huge environmental and socioeconomic gains that stand to be won through sustainable phosphorus management focused on relieving the burden of phosphorus pollution on lakes and their catchments,” says Mahesh Pradhan, a UNEP nutrient pollution expert.
Phosphate rock is the main source of easily accessible phosphorus for the manufacture of synthetic fertilizer and has been produced in large quantities since World War II. However, increasing phosphorus recycling from wastes has the potential to increase food security whilst also reducing impacts on the environment.
“The signs of geopolitical constraints regarding phosphate rock reserves are already evident and are likely to be more intense in future,” says a study in the Journal of Cleaner Production. It warns that the combined impact of increasing demand, dwindling reserves, and geopolitical constraints could result in a substantial decline in the production and supply of chemical phosphorus fertilizer in the global market.
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UNEP is involved in the Our Phosphorus Future project, coordinated by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UK CEH). The project brings together experts from around the world to identify the key solutions for achieving global phosphorus security.
“The scientific community is united on the need to address the global phosphorus challenge. As well as better farming and reducing and recycling wastes, food choice is a key solution. High meat consumption is a well-known driver of unsustainable nutrient use. The commitment of governments, consumers and industry in developing a more sustainable phosphorus future is key,” says Dr Bryan Spears, UK CEH.
Towards better management of phosphorus
UNEP and partners working on phosphorus pollution have come up with a number of priority actions that stand to address this complex problem:
#Africa; #UNEP; #Covid19; #AMCEN; #GreenCovidRecoveryPlan; #biodiversity; #Ecosystem
Nairobi, Africa/Canadian-Media: Ministers of Environment across the continent of Africa have agreed to support a comprehensive green recovery plan to boost economies and social systems aimed at building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, UNEP reports said.
UNEP. Image credit: Twitter handle
In a ministerial statement issued today at the closing of the eighth special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), representatives of the 54 African governments reaffirmed their commitment to enhance environmental resilience as well as to protect and sustainably use natural resources for the region’s development.
In a high-level Ministerial regional conference that was held virtually under the theme “Enhancing environmental action for effective post-COVID recovery in Africa”, participants further called to accelerate the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems as part of an effort to sustainably build back African economies from the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa and President of AMCEN said: “whilst this pandemic is having a profound negative impact on sustainable development and our efforts to combat environmental degradation and eradicate poverty, it also presents opportunities to set our recovery on a path of transformative sustainable development.”
“The African Green Stimulus Programme seeks to address, in a sustainable manner, the devastating socio-economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to, more importantly, harness the opportunities which this approach brings for the Continent,” she added.
Ministers noted the importance of policies and programmes linking public health, pollution abatement, climate action, biodiversity conservation, ecosystems integrity, socio-economic equity, and prosperity for an effective recovery from COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
While noting the impact COVID-19 pandemic has had on Africa’s socio-economic development, the ministers acknowledged it has particularly undermined efforts to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty.
Ministers recommended that an effective recovery strategy from COVID-19 pandemic is essential, and it can present opportunities to further mainstream environmental considerations across all facets of African economies, striving towards a more environmentally friendly, resilient, low-emissions and inclusive sustainable development.
“In overcoming the pandemic, we can also avert climate catastrophe and restore our planet. I congratulate Ministers on their deliberations this week on a green recovery programme for the continent. I call for international solidarity and for the domestic realignment of resources to fund the green recovery,” said Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.
Also, in the conference, environment ministers committed to working with the global community to secure a robust, ambitious and transformative post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that aims at reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.
While noting that Africa’s rich biodiversity is a valuable asset in mitigating climate change, ministers emphasised the need for further elaboration of adaptation planning and implementation under the Paris Agreement to address extreme weather and slow-onset events.
Ministers reiterated their continued support for multilateral cooperation at regional, continental and global levels, as well as their support to the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme to be held from 22 to 26 February 2021.
A pre-AMCEN meeting of Africa Major Groups and stakeholders was held on 26 November with participation of over 80 organisations. Their statement was presented to ministers by the regional representative of the group.
#UN; #Ecosystem; #Restoration; #Biodiversity; #ClimateChange; #Youth
UNEP/Canadian-Media: The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration starts in 2021. It is a global rallying cry for everyone – from governments to multinational companies, to school children – to get involved in reviving damaged ecosystems.
To mark World Children’s Day, which is 20 November, the United Nations Environment Programme recreated the journey of one young girl as she learns about the value of the natural world and how to protect it.
From forests to farmlands to oceans, Earth’s ecosystems are the basis of human prosperity. But as the planet’s population grows, driving the demand for natural resources, these landscapes are being degraded at an alarming rate.
Experts say young people will be most impacted by the destruction of ecosystems. But they also stand to benefit the most from the creation of sustainable jobs based on a restoration economy.
Educating children about restoration, say experts, will turn today’s school kids into ecosystem ambassadors and provide them with the skills necessary to work in the planet-friendly industries of tomorrow.
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, led by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and partners, is designed to prevent, halt and reverse the loss of ecosystems worldwide. A global call to action, it will draw together political support, scientific research and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration.
#Africa; #UNEP; #Ecosystem; #Biodiversity; #WorldToiletDay; #EnvironemntalHealth; #SDGs
Africa/UNEP, Nov 19 (Canadian-Media): Nairobi/Colombo, 19 November 2020 - Poor sanitation continues to pose major health, environmental and socioeconomic risks in many African countries, according to new research by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Image credit: Twitter handle
The paper highlights ways to improve management, generate industry from human waste, and improve sanitation for cities and households with poor fecal sludge management.
The research paper, Fecal sludge management in Africa: Socio-economic aspects, human and environmental health implications, is launched on World Toilet Day, which celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. It explores current trends in fecal sludge management and how they are impacting human and environmental health in the region, and provides guidance on enhancing wastewater management and sanitation services delivery across the continent.
Poor fecal sludge management is a major contributor to the 115 deaths per hour from excreta-related diseases in Africa, while improved sanitation has been shown to decrease diarrheal disease by 25 per cent. It also contributes to huge economic losses: on the continent, poor sanitation leads to losses of approximately 1 to 2.5 percent of a country’s GDP. As population growth skyrockets – the continent’s urban population is projected to triple by mid-century – so too does the volume of fecal sludge and wastewater. Across West African cities, one person produces between 20-150 litres of wastewater per day. Considering an average daily generation of 1 litre of fecal sludge per person, a city of 1 million inhabitants will need to collect 1000 m3 every day.
“The scale and threat of poor fecal sludge management can be turned on its head if we look at the government and business opportunities that can galvanise real change in health and livelihoods in marginalized communities in countries struggling with poor sanitation,” said Dr. Habib El-Habr, Coordinator of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) at UNEP. “COVID-19 shines a harsh light on the state of proper sanitation in many African countries, for whom improved sanitation should be a key part of green recovery and efforts to prevent excreta-related diseases.”
The report recommends technical innovations for improving the capture, emptying and treatment of sludge, highlighting good practices, including a programme in Uganda, through which the Kampala City Council Authority worked with the private sector to improve fecal sludge management in the city. The programme included a sanitation call centre to strengthen the link between customers, the City Council and private operators, and a GPS tracking system to improve service efficiency and avoid illegal dumping by for private operators.
Treatment plans can generate some revenue for countries and especially for poor communities, converting fecal sludge to compost or biochar for use as fertilizer, or converting to briquettes as fuel for industry. In 2017, Burkina Faso commissioned the first fecal sludge biogas plant in the country, generating electricity to feed into the national grid.
Dr. Olufunke Cofie, Principal Researcher and Country Representative for IWMI in West Africa: “We are reaching a crucial point in managing fecal sludge on the African continent: there are feasible and affordable opportunities to further invest in inclusive fecal sludge management, from feces capture to treatment and the report explores how transforming poop to useful products could help ease the crisis, as we are demonstrating in Ghana.”
The analysis finds that sustainably managing fecal sludge is hindered by a number of factors, including population growth and urbanization; over-reliance on financial aid for construction of treatment plants; low revenue generation from users of treatment facilities; poor operation and maintenance, and inefficient institutional arrangements for fecal sludge management.
The authors call for better coordination of the roles and responsibilities of diverse actors involved in the processes.
The report’s authors stress the need to invest in sanitation systems and mechanisms to improve fecal sludge management, as well as direct investments – especially to poor households – in order to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
THE historic UN Summit on Biodiversity sets the stage for a global movement toward a green recovery from COVID-19
#UN; #Biodiversity; #GreenRecovery; #Covid19
New York, Oct 4 (Canadian-Media): Recognizing that the continued deterioration and degradation of the world’s natural ecosystems were having major impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere, world leaders called for increased resolve to protect biodiversity at the UN today.
Image credit: Pixaby
A record number of countries — nearly 150 countries and 72 Heads of State and Government -addressed the first-ever Summit held on biodiversity to build political momentum towards the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, to be adopted at COP15 in Kunming, China next year.
The Summit comes on the heels of the Leader’s Pledge on Monday, which saw 74 countries commit to preserving biodiversity, sending “a united signal to step up global ambition for biodiversity and to commit to matching our collective ambition for nature, climate, and people with the scale of the crisis at hand.”
“The degradation of local and regional ecosystems, unsustainable agricultural practices, and the exploitation of natural resources, are putting critical pressure on world ecosystems,” said President of the General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, who presided over the Summit. “Clearly, we must heed the lessons we have learned and respect the world in which we live.”
He added, “A green recovery, with an emphasis on protecting biodiversity, can address these concerns, mitigate risks, and build a more sustainable, resilient world. Doing so can help unlock an estimated US$10 trillion in business opportunities, create 395 million jobs by 2030, and encourage a greener economy.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said biodiversity and ecosystems are essential for human progress and prosperity. “By living in harmony with nature, we can avert the worst impacts of climate change and recharge biodiversity for the benefit of people and the planet.”
“Let me be clear,” he added. “Degradation of nature is not purely an environmental issue. It spans economics, health, social justice, and human rights. Neglecting our precious resources can exacerbate geopolitical tensions and conflicts. Yet, too often environmental health is overlooked or downplayed by other government sectors. This Summit is our opportunity to show the world that there is another way. We have to change course and transform our relationship with the natural world.”
In addition to leaders, the Summit heard from HRH Prince Charles, who called for a new “Marshall Plan” or a “blue-green recovery’ and indigenous leaders who, as defenders of biodiversity, spoke about the need to allow indigenous people to use their traditional knowledge to preserve, protect and manage nature.
UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said the Summit showed a greater willingness to act. “Today we have seen tremendous commitment to act, invest, and drive action for a nature-positive world. We are seeing a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to moving conversations on biodiversity, beyond the ecological corridors. We are seeing strong momentum towards sealing an ambitious and measurable agreement at the COP15 in Kunming. As we tackle three planetary crises — the nature crisis, the biodiversity crisis, and the pollution and waste crisis–such an Agreement is crucial to reversing the damage already done, and indeed to tackling the risks that lie ahead.”
UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said: “This Summit has as much to do with people as it has to do with nature. It is about people’s dependence on nature, people’s inabilities to see the complexity of nature, and people’s blindness, sometimes greed and ignorance, and the blind spot of economies and economics for so long to recognize the value of ecosystem services. We are coming to a point in history where there is growing awareness that action on biodiversity is inextricably linked with broader human development through the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.’’