ECOSYSTEMS IN THE WORLD-SYSTEM

October 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Posted in Development, Earth, Ecology, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, Research, World-system | Leave a comment

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UN STUDY HIGHLIGHTS THE IMMENSE

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL VALUE OF

ECOSYSTEMS

New York, Oct 20 2010

UNNews UNNews@un.org

Wed, 20 Oct 2010

UN STUDY HIGHLIGHTS THE IMMENSE ECONOMIC AND

SOCIAL VALUE OF ECOSYSTEMS

Businesses and policy-makers need to recognize the tremendous economic value of ecosystems, as well as the social and economic costs of losing such natural resources as forests, freshwater, soils and coral reefs, a new United Nations report released today http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=649&ArticleID=6791&l=en said.

The report by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (http://www.teebweb.org/ TEEB), a body hosted by the UN Environment Programme (http://www.unep.org/ UNEP), seeks to galvanize the world to recognize the economic consequences of failing to halt the alarming loss of species as a result of habitat loss, pollution and excessive exploitation of ecosystems for financial gain.

The reported was launched at the conference of parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (http://www.cbd.int/ CBD) under way in the Japanese city of Nagoya.

“TEEB has documented not only the multi-trillion dollar importance to the global economy of the natural world, but the kinds of policy-shifts and smart market mechanisms that can embed fresh thinking in a world beset by a rising raft of multiple challenges,” Pavan Sukhdev, a banker who heads UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative.

“The good news is that many communities and countries are already seeing the potential of incorporating the value of nature into decision-making.”

The study calls for wider recognition of nature’s contribution to human livelihoods, health, security and culture by decision-makers at all levels.

Countries such as India have already announced plans for implementing the economic valuation of their natural capital, as well as the value of nature’s services in decision-making, according to the study.

“TEEB’s approach can reset the economic compass and herald a new era in which the value of nature’s services is made visible and becomes an explicit part of policy and business decision-making. Do nothing, and not only do we lose trillions worth of current and future benefits to society, we also further impoverish the poor and put future generations at risk,” said Mr. Sukhdev.

The report spells out three scenarios – a natural ecosystem (forests), a human settlement (city) and a business sector (mining) – to illustrate how the economic concepts and tools described in TEEB can help equip society with the means to incorporate the values of nature into decision-making at all levels.
With more than half of the world’s population now living in urban areas, cities have a crucial role to play in acknowledging the natural capital required to maintain and improve the well-being of their residents.

Innovative economic instruments and policies are emerging that reward good practice. For example, Nagoya has implemented a new system of ‘tradeable’ development rights whereby developers wishing to exceed existing limits on high-rise buildings can offset their impacts by buying and conserving areas of Japan’s traditional agricultural landscape, according to the report.

Discounts on bank loans for buildings that receive a higher star rating based on a green certification system designed by Nagoya city authorities also create incentives for more green space within city projects.

An important finding of the study is the contribution of forests and other ecosystems to the livelihoods of poor rural households, and, therefore, the significant potential for conservation efforts to contribute to poverty reduction.

It has been estimated that ecosystem services and other non-marketed natural goods account for 47 to 89 per cent of the so-called “Gross Domestic Product of the Poor” – the total sources of livelihoods of rural and forest-dwelling poor households – in some large developing countries.

“In the past only traditional sectors such as manufacturing, mining, retailing, construction and energy generation were uppermost in the minds of economic planners and ministers of finance, development and trade.

“TEEB has brought to the world’s attention that nature’s goods and services are equal, if not far more central, to the wealth of nations including the poor – a fact that will be increasingly the case on a planet of finite resources with a population set to rise to nine billion people by 2050,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.
Oct 20 2010

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

UN STUDY HIGHLIGHTS THE IMMENSE

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL VALUE OF ECOSYSTEMS

New York, Oct 20 2010

UNNews UNNews@un.org

UN STUDY HIGHLIGHTS THE IMMENSE ECONOMIC AND

SOCIAL VALUE OF ECOSYSTEMS

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

Wed, 20 Oct 2010

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LAND AND FOOD IN THE WORLD-SYSTEM

October 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Development, Earth, Ecology, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, Research, World-system | Leave a comment

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LAND LOSS TO SPECULATORS,

INDUSTRIES AND CITIES RESULT IN

HUNGER – UN RIGHTS EXPERT

UNNews UNNews@un.org

New York, Oct 21 2010

LAND LOSS TO SPECULATORS INDUSTRIES AND CITIES RESULT IN HUNGER – UN RIGHTS, EXPERT

Thu, 21 Oct 2010

An estimated 500 million small-scale farmers across the world are hungry, partly as a result of losing their farmland to industrial expansion, urbanization or environmental degradation, the United Nations independent expert on the right to food told the General Assembly today.

“As rural populations grow and competition with large industrial units increases, the plots cultivated by smallholders are shrinking year after year,” Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, said as he presented a http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/food/annual.htm report to the Assembly.

“Farmers are often relegated to soils that are arid, hilly or without irrigation. This poses a direct threat to the right to food of rural populations.”

Speaking to reporters, Mr. De Schutter stressed the need to protect land users from “land grabbers” and speculators who may, for example, want to use farmland for large-scale mechanized farming to produce agrofuels.

“Access to land is what is needed to realize the right to food,” he emphasized, adding that agrarian reform may be necessary in situations where there are large inequalities in land distribution or in circumstances where people’s access to land is so limited that they are unable to growth enough food for themselves.

The new report said that up to 30 million hectares of farmland are lost due yearly to environmental degradation, conversion to industrial use or urbanization. With rural populations growing and competition with large industrial units on the rise, plots cultivated by small farmers are shrinking every year, relegating them to arid, hilly or dry soils. This poses a direct threat to the right of rural populations to food.

Also presenting a http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/HRC/14/21 report to the Assembly today was Cephas Lumina, the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights.

According to the publication, debt forgiveness for poor countries has eased their burdens and made resources available for poverty-reduction, but it noted that ‘vulture’ funds have seized the opportunity to acquire defaulted State debts cheaply and seek repayment of the full value later.

“By forcing HIPCs [Highly Indebted Poor Counties], through litigation and other means, to divert financial resources saved from debt cancellation, vulture funds diminish the impact of, or dilute the potential gains from, debt relief for these countries, thereby undermining the core objectives of internationally agreed debt relief measures,” it said.

“Vulture funds profiteer at the expense of both the citizens of HIPCs and the taxpayers of countries that have supported international debt relief efforts.”

In her report to the Assembly yesterday, Gay McDougall, the UN Independent Expert on minority issues, highlighted the need to pay attention to issues of concern to minority groups at an early stage.

“According to a recent survey, over 55 per cent of violent conflicts of a significant intensity between 2007 and 2009 had violations of minority rights or tensions between communities at their core,” she told the Assembly.

“In a further 22 per cent of conflicts, minority issues were raised in the course of the conflict. This evidence indicates that Governments, donors and intergovernmental organizations need to allocate significant attention and resources to minority issues as sources of conflict.”

The report found that existing early warning and conflict prevention mechanisms are poorly equipped to identify and respond early enough to issues and grievances to make a difference before problems arise.

“More typical early warning indicators, such as small arms flows and movements of displaced peoples, tend to reflect a situation that is already rapidly spiraling into violence,” the expert noted. “By the time those indicators trigger attention, grievances may have festered for decades, perhaps generations – generations of lost opportunities to heal rifts, to avert conflict and to build a cohesive society.”
Oct 21 2010

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

LAND LOSS TO SPECULATORS, INDUSTRIES AND

CITIES RESULT IN HUNGER – UN RIGHTS EXPERT

UNNews UNNews@un.org

New York, Oct 21 2010

LAND LOSS TO SPECULATORS INDUSTRIES AND CITIES

RESULT IN HUNGER – UN RIGHTS, EXPERT

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

Thu, 21 Oct 2010

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