With floods now causing more damage more frequently around the world, it is time to counter their effects by turning our towns into “Sponge Cities”, a recent trend popularised by China to absorb rainwater through permeable roads and pavements, parks, rooftop gardens and other green spaces. (more…)
There are several key social and environmental issues to watch out for in 2018 as they are close to reaching a tipping point, says this preview of the new year by the South Centre’s Executive Director Martin Khor. (more…)
The concept of Farmers’ Rights recognized the role of farmers as custodians of biodiversity and helped to draw attention to the need to preserve practices that are essential for sustainable agriculture. This paper examines one particular aspect of such rights, perhaps the most controversial. It deals with the component of farmers’ rights referring to the use, exchange and sale of farm-saved seeds. Although that concept was initially introduced in 1989 with the aim of balancing the rights of farmers as breeders and of commercial plant breeders, a specific reference to the rights relating to seeds was only introduced upon the conclusion of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2001.
Gandhi, his writings and his words are as relevant as ever today as when he lived. This is the theme of the Sixth Gandhi Memorial Lecture presented by Gurdial Singh Nijar, a prominent Malaysian lawyer and former law professor, and organised by the Gandhi Memorial Trust, Malaysia. The text of the lecture, which was presented in Kuala Lumpur in October 2016, is published in this policy brief.
Shocks for developing countries from President Trump’s first days
By Martin Khor
His first days in office indicate that President Donald Trump intends to implement what he promised, with serious consequences for the future of the United Nations, trade, the environment and international cooperation, and developing countries will be most affected. Those who hoped Trump would be more statesman-like in style and middle-of-the-road in policy matters after his inauguration had their illusions dashed when the new United States President moved straight into action to fulfil his election pledges. (more…)
Gandhi, his writings and his words are as relevant as ever today as when he lived. This is the theme of the Sixth Gandhi Memorial Lecture presented by Gurdial Singh Nijar, a prominent Malaysian lawyer and former law professor, and organised by the Gandhi Memorial Trust, Malaysia. The text of the lecture, which was presented in Kuala Lumpur in October 2016, is below. (more…)
Actions Needed Urgently to Tackle Air Pollution – Part 2
By Martin Khor
Actions are urgently needed to curb air pollution, which has emerged as the biggest threat to health and the environment, and they need to be taken at global and national levels. (This is the second of two articles on air pollution.) This article was published by Inter Press Service (IPS) on 14 November 2016. (more…)
Air Pollution Emerges as a Top Killer Globally – Part 1
By Martin Khor
New research is showing that air pollution is a powerful if silent killer, causing 6.5 million worldwide deaths as well as being the major cause of climate change. Air pollution has emerged as a leading cause of deaths and serious ailments in the world. Emissions that cause air pollution and are Greenhouse Gases are also the main factor causing climate change. Therefore, drastically reducing air pollution should now be treated as a top priority. (more…)
The climate change conference in Paris had a grand start last week, with high profile speeches from host French President Francois Hollande, American President Barack Obama, Britain’s Prince Charles and many other leaders. Immediately after the opening, the negotiators got down to work and they have not stopped. They realised that their task, to produce the Paris agreement on climate action after 2020, is all-important, whatever good rhetoric the political leaders may come up with. At the half-way mark of the two-week conference, there is no certainty that a final deal can be reached. The conference, known as COP21 (21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), is scheduled to end this Friday but could stretch till Saturday or even Sunday. (more…)
Among the issues that caught the public imagination at the recent Rio+20 summit was the right of all people to good, nutritious food, and the need to support small farmers and promote ecologically sound agricultural methods. Martin Khor reports on the Sustainable Development Dialogue on Food Security.