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Four More Development News Stories

Written by Mark Hawkins

December 13, 2019

A lot has happened in the development world since our September update. Here are three of the most important events in the last few months and a couple of successful development projects for inspiration.

1) COP25 takes place in Spain

The meeting of the international community to address climate change takes place as the UN warns that emissions will have to be drastically cut by 2030 to meet current targets of limiting global temperatures to 1.5C. The final results of the conference will have a great impact on sustainable development policy going forward. Here are some highlights:

2) Zimbabwe facing severe food security crisis

Zimbabwe is in the grips of a food security crisis. Up to 60 percent (7.7 million people) of the country’s population faces food insecurity. Poor rains in the 2018-19 growing season and continuing currency inflation have fuelled the crisis. Malnutrition and stunting are widespread among children with 90% of those aged six months to two years not consuming a minimum acceptable diet. Hilal Elver, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, warns the current crisis risks evolving into a full-grown conflict or man-made famine.

3) Measles on the rise 

The WHO reports that measles is the world’s fastest growing epidemic globally. It is a preventable disease yet many communities remain unvaccinated. These include countries from Germany and the USA to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Samoa. In the eastern DRC, 5000 people, mostly children, have died from measles in the last year, more than double the number of deaths from Ebola. In Samoa a state of emergency has been declared in response to a massive spike in cases, with doctors from the Commonwealth being sent to help. The biggest problem remains a lack of immunisation whether through distrust of vaccines or lack of access.

4) Innovation from Africa 

Gaudi style architecture has been built by a Senegalese community in partnership with architects from Barcelona. Organised by crowdfunded architects, the project aims for self-sufficiency within two years. The partnership has led to a new school and new perspectives. Architect Antonio Garcia reports: “We went and showed them how to create this structure. Now one of the builders there, who knew nothing about this technique to begin with, has shown me a better way to build it.”

Coral reefs in Kenya have suffered acutely due to climatic changes and over fishing. For instance, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) reports as much as 60-90% of coral was destroyed. Hope remains, however, with local communities working with the Kenya Coastal Development project and the Global Environment Facility Fund to repair the reefs by sinking artificial reef frames and planting sea grass. The project, led by local women, aims to provide fish and an eco-tourism industry to the local community. The project has thus far met with great success.

LIDC intern, Mark Hawkins, is currently undertaking an MSc in Environment, Politics and Development at LIDC core member institution, SOAS University of London.

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