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Mauritius oil spill: Fears vessel may 'break in two' as cracks appear

BBC Africa - 1 hour 25 min ago
The MV Wakashio, which ran aground on a coral reef on 25 July, is now leaking oil off the island.
Categories: Africa

Focus on Africa: A tale of Africa’s 60-year history

BBC Africa - 2 hours 44 min ago
A look at the key historical events In Africa since the launch of BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme in 1960.
Categories: Africa

Kenyan military deployed to fight fire in Tsavo park

BBC Africa - 4 hours 40 min ago
The Kenya Wildlife Service blames the huge fire in the country's biggest park on arsonists.
Categories: Africa

Understanding the Benefits of local Wetland Encourages Eswatini Community to Save it

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - 6 hours 7 min ago

Sibonisiwe Hlanze is one of 600 women who are allowed to harvest reeds from the Lawuba Wetland in Lawuba, Eswatini. She generates a seasonal income from this which allows her to purchase farming inputs. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

By Mantoe Phakathi
LAWUBA, Eswatini, Aug 10 2020 (IPS)

Sibonisiwe Hlanze, from Lawuba in Eswatini’s Shiselweni Region, lights up as she shows off her sleeping mat which she made from what she described as “the highest quality indigenous fibre”.

Hlanze boasts that she did not pay a cent for the likhwane (Cyperus latifolius) used to make mats that she sells to vendors from Eswatini’s commercial capital of Manzini. Instead, she simply walks a few metres to the nearby Lawuba Wetland where she collects the fibre during the harvesting season.

About 600 beneficiary women under the Methula Inkhundla (constituency centre) harvest fibre from the wetland in June from 7 am to noon.

Hlanze charges E100 ($5) for a sleeping mat. On a good season, she would make between 15 to 20 mats generating between E1 500 ($85) and E2 000 ($114).

“But now I prefer to only harvest and sell the raw fibre because I no longer have much time to make the mats,” Hlanze told IPS. She makes E200 ($11) from a bundle which is used to make handicraft items such as mats and baskets. Last season, she harvested about 10 bundles.

“Some women prefer to buy the fibre instead of going to the wetland to harvest for themselves because they find it tedious,” Hlanze told IPS. “The wetland has provided me and other women with a source of income because we’re unemployed.”

Considering that this is seasonal income, Hlanze said she uses this to make money to buy farming inputs.

Nkhositsini Dlamini, the secretary for Lawuba Wetland, concurs with Hlanze adding that in one season she generated E23,000 ($ 1,310) from sleeping mats whose fibre she harvested from the wetland. She sells her handicraft in Johannesburg at a higher price compared to when selling in Eswatini. Sleeping mats go for E300 ($ 17) in South Africa. 

“My child was admitted at the university but didn’t get a scholarship,” Dlamini told IPS. “I used that money to pay for the fees.”

Besides the fibre plants such as likhwane, inchoboza (Cyperus articulates) and umtsala (Miscanthus capensis), which are used for handicraft products, she said, there are indigenous medicinal plants at the 21-hectare natural wetland which help to heal various ailments such as scabies. The community also established a livestock drinking trough and a vegetable garden which draws water from the wetland.

Dlamini, however, states that the community was on the verge of losing this asset because it had become degraded over the years. For many years, she said, livestock used to graze from the wetland while local women were over harvesting the fibre. As a result, it was losing its spongy effect of storing water.

“The amount of fibre available at the wetland was significantly reduced, not to mention the number of cattle that used die after getting stuck in the mud,” said Dlamini.

The state of the wetland concerned Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, who approached Eswatini Environment Authority (EEA) to support the community to protect it. Masuku, who is also a resident of the area, said he decided to act after noticing that the wetland had lost some of its indigenous plants such as reeds and experienced other biodiversity loss of animal species such as birds and snakes. It was also drying up.

“This wetland feeds the Mhlathuze River,” said Masuku in an interview with IPS. “It is also a source for a downstream dipping tank.”

Through the National Environment Fund, the EEA provided fencing material to prevent livestock from grazing and drinking from the wetland. The EEA partnered with World Vision who provided food aid for residents who constructed the fence under the Food for Work Programme. This was after the EEA had educated the community about the benefits of the wetland to their lives. The construction of the protection fence took place between 2010/11. EEA has protected 12 wetlands in the country using this fund.

“Once people know and see the benefits of conserving the environment, their attitudes and their behaviour change,” said EEA ecologist, Nana Matsebula. This was corroborated by a study done a University of Pretoria student, Linda Siphiwo Mahlalela, titled Economic valuation and natural resource rent as tools for wetland conservation in Swaziland: the case of Lawuba wetland.

The study found that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that households at Lawuba have high levels of knowledge about the benefits of conserving the wetland and the threats that endanger it. It also found that households have positive attitudes towards its conservation with income seemingly having influence towards this behaviour.

Matsebula said the community realised that the wetland also had a cultural value to the Swati nation.

“A sleeping mat comes from a wetland,” said Matsebula. “Besides using it for sleeping and sitting, no one in our culture gets buried without a sleeping mat.”

The mat is also one of the significant items at traditional weddings.

Besides the economic value of the wetland, Matsebula told IPS, the community was also educated on the ecological benefits. These include acting as a flood control by absorbing water during rain, replenishing the water table and acting as a reservoir for a diverse biodiversity.

“Wetlands are also important for climate change mitigation because they trap carbon up to 50 times more compared to forests,” he said, adding: “Wetlands take up to only 3 percent of the world total land area yet they hold up to a third of the world’s total carbon.”

Matsebula said environmentalists have over the years shifted from talking about preservation to conservation. The latter emphasises sustainable use of natural resources while the former discourages use altogether.

“It has been proven that when people realise benefits from the environment, they are most likely to protect it,” he said. 

But the wetland faces a threat from poor regulation. Criminals have also started to steal parts of the fence. Masuku said for this wetland, and others to be adequately protected, the government needs to take over its administration so that it is declared a national asset. While the community will continue to have the primary responsibility to protect it, the government should support with its monitoring and regulation.

“We need political commitment in the regulation of harvesting fibre and drawing water from the wetland,” said Masuku. “We also need stiff laws that will ensure criminals who steal the fence protecting wetlands are punished.”

For now, there are no permits and the users of the natural resources from the wetland regulate themselves. 

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The post Understanding the Benefits of local Wetland Encourages Eswatini Community to Save it appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Categories: Africa

The Moroccan woman who changed the Arab world in one run

BBC Africa - 6 hours 10 min ago
Nawal El Moutawakel's triumph in the first Olympic women's 400m hurdles changed attitudes to female athletes across a whole region.
Categories: Africa

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - 8 hours 24 min ago

By Jan Lundius
STOCKHOLM / ROME, Aug 10 2020 (IPS)

COVID-19 has become a scourge affecting all levels of human society – morals, behaviour, human interaction, economy and politics. The pandemic has wrecked havoc on our way of being and its impact will remain huge and all-encompassing. It is not only affecting our globally shared existence, it is also changing what has been called ”the little life”, i.e. our own way of thinking and being, our personal life situation and the one of those close to us; people we love and depend upon – our friends and family.

COVID-19 has so far mainly contaminated humans, though since everything on earth is connected it is already threatening other species, maybe the entire equilibrium of our vulnerable planet.

A painting by Paul Gauguin is inscribed with the questions D´où Venons Nous/ Que Sommes Nous/ Où Allons Nous – Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? Questions we may ask ourselves while being confronted with COVID-19. When we reflect upon our origins it is difficult to avoid the most essential question of them all – What makes us humans different from other animals?

Like any other animal we are multicellular creatures, mobile and obtain our energy from food . Furthermore, we have muscles, nervous systems and internal cavities where food is broken down and converted into energy. As mammals, we can regulate our body temperature, our female variety can give birth to live children and breastfeed them.

However, our brain has difficulties in accepting that we actually are animals and thus highly dependent on nature. Our excessively abstract thinking, our ability to express ourselves in languages and symbols, have set us apart from other animals and contributed to the development of complex, ever-changing societies. We are able to communicate and cooperate in large numbers and have developed a unique capacity to believe in things existing purely in our imagination, such as gods, nations and money. This has placed us beside nature, made us think that we are unique and have the right to exploit everything for our own benefit, making us arrogant, prone to discrimination and making use of other creatures in an often abusive and even cruel manner.

Is this an unavoidable ingredient of the evolution of life on earth? As an answer to Gauguin’s first question: ”Where do we come from?” science has organized human evolution into six levels. We share the first five with other creatures, while the sixth level makes us unique.

In the beginning, chemical compounds developed in liquid water and became bacteria, which over millions of years were transformed into eukaryotic cells, containing a nucleus and organelles enclosed by a plasma membrane. Our bodies are constructed by such cells. Millions of years later, a third crucial advance came about – sexuality, i.e. the controlled and regular exchange of DNA between cells. Finally, the eukaryotic cells assembled into multicellular organisms and it is here we find the ancestors to all animal species, including Homo Sapiens.

The fifth transition was more of a social than a biological change – eusociality, a phenomenon that occurred when animals came together in huge groups, where they developed a high level of cooperation, based on division of labour and altruism. It is altruism that makes us human, meaning that we as individuals are prepared to benefit others at our own expense. You might, with good reason, claim that humans are not at all any sympathetic beings. That each one of us is mainly concerned with her/his own well-being, and this quite often at the expense of others. Nevertheless, while considering human society in its entirety it becomes evident that every individual is dependent on the welfare of others.

Humans are actually prepared to sacrifice themselves for the well-being of their loved ones, or even risking their lives for what they believe is the contentment and prosperity of the entire human society. They may act as health workers, fire men, or soldiers – there are numerous more examples of such tasks and assignments that actually have an altruistic origin. However, this is also common among other animals, even among such insects as ants and honey bees, where altruism is even more developed than among human beings. Nevertheless, the eusocial behaviour of such creatures is exempt from what we humans would call love and compassion.

What we humans have obtained at the sixth, and so far final, level of evolution is an advanced capacity for language, empathy and cooperation. This in spite of the fact that we easily may point out major shortcomings when it comes to the last two characteristics, especially empathy.

The crucial faculty that makes us human is language. Other animals are capable of communicating by sound, facial expressions, bodily postures, and movements, though they are unable to speak in the sense that they can create the words and symbols that constitute the imaginary concepts mentioned above. This human ability has delivered us from the shackles of instinct and premeditated behaviour. Humans can create and communicate imagined and real stories, something that enable us to move back and forth through past, present and future time, and from place to place. We are able to create imaginary worlds that can be transformed into reality.

Through experience amassed by empirical science and stored in books and other data banks, we can with the help of means of communication, like mathematics, and mentally created maps and plans, transform almost anything in accordance with our needs and imagination. This unique skill has developed from our use of language and given rise to the sciences and philosophical thoughts that now are transforming the entire biosphere, while abusing it to such a degree that we are currently on the verge of destroying it completely.

This leads us to Gauguin’s last question: ”Where Are We Going?” Our human capacity for changing things for the better is currently put to the test, and COVID-19 may be part of that challenge. The long chain of evolutionary development has taught us that survival and success do not depend on brutal force, but on empathy, compassion and cooperation. In these days, chauvinism is once again exposing its ugly face around the globe and political leaders assert that competition between nations is a driving force of human social evolution. However, contrary to such ideas science has proved that it is entirely reasonable that alliances and cooperation between large populations have been beneficial for cultural evolution and the sharing of resources. Innovations and beneficial solutions are more frequent within a large and diversified group, than in a small, homogenous one. Knowledge and skills are most effectively created and preserved within a global environment.

At the same time, it is also important to safeguard ”the little life”. It was apparently there that the success story of human evolution once began. Our current, massive cerebral memory banks were established by the African campsites of the first Homo Sapiens. While they prepared and shared their food they were talking about what had happened during the day and made plans for the future, and not only that – they entertained one another with tales about real and invented incidents and adventures, they sang and danced. While devoting time to such social interactions our ancestors developed and advanced their social skills and capacities. This meant that brutal strength and physical proficiency was not the most essential component in their struggle for control and survival. The main issue was to take care of and accept the abilities of each and every member of the group.

One specific feature of humans has been that we honour and take care of the elderly. It was the stories about their experiences and the time they, in particular grandmothers, were able to dedicate to their grandchildren, that made it possible for younger members of the group to procure and prepare food, as well as shelter and protection for all of its members. Both children and their parents could thus, by making use of the skills of the elderly, gain experiences that ultimately fostered human development.

It is social interaction and empathy, not violence and discrimination that have been essential contributors to the evolution of our larger brain and higher intelligence, as well as the enormous source of experience and knowledge we humans have amassed over time. Let us now hope that all this will lead to a global consensus that the future well-being and actual life on earth depends on us all and our ability to express compassion and work together as the eusocial creatures we de facto are. Hopefully this could be a lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching us that the earth is an enclosed sphere where every living creature is connected. It is now high time that humans shed their harmful arrogance and finally realized that peaceful coexistence, mutual support and shared responsibilities for our vulnerable biosphere is not only our raison d’être as human beings, but a necessity for the survival of our entire planet.

Harari, Yuval Noah (2019) Sapiens. A Brief History of Mankind. New York: HarperCollins. Wilson, Edward O. (2020) Genesis: The Deep Origin of Societies. London: Penguin Books

Jan Lundius holds a PhD. on History of Religion from Lund University and has served as a development expert, researcher and advisor at SIDA, UNESCO, FAO and other international organisations.


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The post Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Categories: Africa

Africa Eye: Ghana hospital workers cash in on PPE amid coronavirus

BBC Africa - 8 hours 34 min ago
The BBC Africa Eye team uncovers Ghanaians selling coronavirus supplies while doctors and nurses go without.
Categories: Africa

Building Resilience in Pacific Education

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - 9 hours 3 min ago

By Michelle Belisle
Aug 10 2020 (IPS)

School as we all know it hasn’t changed that much in over a century. However, in the face of new threats to health and wellbeing, the future of those familiar structures that bring teachers and students together is starting to be questioned.

Large numbers of people in crowded spaces for long periods – it all runs contrary to what the experts advise to keep us safe from contagious diseases like COVID-19. Class size is no longer an academic debate over quality of instruction versus budgetary restrictions, but rather a life and death discussion of the transmission of pathogens.

Lockdowns closed schools for some 1.5 billion children globally. About half of these are located in developing countries where many had to take up jobs. As a result, Save the Children estimates that around 10 million may never return to school and warns that unparalleled budget cuts would see pre-existing inequality explode between rich and poor and between boys and girls.

But while COVID is the immediate challenge, it is also shining a spotlight on some of the larger issues surrounding the resilience of traditional education systems and practices.

Sending children home has highlighted the huge technology gaps between and within countries. Online teaching does not work if you have no quiet place to study, no computer or electricity. Some 500 million children already had no access to the resources and technology required to support distance learning. For these children, the education restrictions COVID has created are a permanent part of their learning experience.

While there are certainly initiatives in place attempting to close the technology gap, not enough attention is being given to what a more effective education system could look like. Would recreating the classroom in a virtual environment simply reproduce the same issues, gaps and challenges that marginalise the same groups but in a different way? What about the “soft skills” and the life lessons learned at school that aren’t so easily transitioned to worksheets and Zoom technology?

Recently released findings of the 2018 Pacific Island Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA), a huge collaborative exercise across 15 countries and more than 900 schools, showed improved literacy and numeracy skills of primary school students. But learning resource availability ranged widely. A third of students attended schools where only the teacher had a textbook (25 per cent) or there were no textbooks at all (8 per cent).

Measurement and data from such surveys have a big role to play in understanding how change impacts students. Now more than ever it is critical to have timely education data to help understand what is happening in our systems and how to respond to the new needs. We have to get past the idea of education data as a “report card”, judging students, parents, teachers and schools, and instead embrace it as diagnostic information holding the key to unlocking success into the future.

How can education systems strike a balance between using technology to reach students and keep classrooms safe while ensuring that all students are able to fully participate and benefit from the education experience?

Experts have made claims about how technology will change the way learning happens, but interestingly, radio, television, computers and now a plethora of smart technologies and connectivity platforms have really not made a great deal of difference to how school looks or what the processes are.

What has changed is our understanding of how students learn – what motivates them to keep learning and what turns them away from formal education. We have seen over time that students are more motivated and learn more readily when they are engaged and interested and what they are learning has meaning and relevance.

We know that students, like virtually all people, respond better to positive feedback and support than to threats, degradation and punishment. We know that children learn by observation from a very young age and that they value what the adults around them value, particularly those adults whose opinions matter to them and whose support and acknowledgement they strive for.

The quest for free, accessible and high quality education for all children is highly unlikely to line up perfectly with what governments can resource in terms of numbers of teachers, their materials and training.

It is possible though to provide the support and encouragement that children need one on one. A key element is the degree to which the significant adults in a child’s life take an interest in and pay attention to their education.

Our PILNA 2018 results showed that literacy and numeracy scores were higher for those children whose caregivers (parents or other significant adults) asked what they were doing in school and what they were reading, compared with the children of caregivers who paid little or no attention.

Regardless of their own level of education, adults can support the motivation of Pacific Island children to learn and grow academically.

Taking an interest in what children are learning is a first step but if we really want to support children, particularly when regular access to classrooms and teachers is not guaranteed, adults need to take a lead in developing the inquiring minds of young people.

But what are we actually doing to support this and are we asking the impossible of caregivers?

PILNA showed that students across all 15 participating countries struggled with critical thinking and problem solving. These are difficult concepts to teach, but the first step is to support the mindset that allows children to think critically.

Asking questions about the world around them is normal for very young children but over time we train them to keep their thoughts to themselves, that even asking questions is potentially disrespectful or will lead to appearing stupid. Questions met with frustration or ridicule teach children to remain silent. That is the first step to extinguishing the will to learn and one often taken in a mistaken perception that an authoritarian approach to demanding that students complete rote tasks is equivalent to supporting learning.

COVID-19 will not be the last crisis we face, but its global impact can be an opportunity to rethink our approach so that we are better able to adapt, both to future crisis situations and also to the evolving realities of society and technology.

It’s time to think beyond building a better classroom and instead use our experience and knowledge to create a better system — one that provides all students with high quality learning opportunities that lead to success in an unknown future.


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The post Building Resilience in Pacific Education appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Dr Michelle Belisle is the Director, Education Quality and Assessment Programme at The Pacific Community (SPC).

The post Building Resilience in Pacific Education appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Categories: Africa

Warming Temperatures & Decades of Oil Spills Cause Irreversible Damage to the Persian Gulf

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - 9 hours 40 min ago

By Rabiya Jaffery
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug 10 2020 (IPS)

The Persian Gulf is one of the most strategic waterways in the world and is also one of the most polluted.

According to estimates by experts, pollution levels in the Persian Gulf are 47 times higher than the world’s average and are steadily increasing.

The 600-mile body of water that is also known as the Arabian Gulf currently has 34 oilfields with more than 800 wells. In addition, roughly 85% of the oil extracted in the Gulf countries is exported – 40% of the world export of crude oil and around 15% of the world’s total export of refined products come from the region – and more than half of all the oil is carried by ships.

It is estimated that approximately 25,000 tanker movements sail in and out of the Strait of Hormuz, the only sea passage that connects the Persian Gulf to the open sea. Accidental spilling is unavoidable and, on average, 100–160 thousand tons of oil and oil products end up in the Gulf every year.

In addition to spills from tankers, oil spills and fires that have been a consequence of military activities that have taken place in the region over the past few decades have also severely contaminated the Persian Gulf.

The world’s largest oil spill, for instance, occurred during the 1991 Gulf War and an estimated 8-11 million barrels were leaked in the Persian Gulf waters as a result.

In an attempt to prevent the UN coalition forces from landing on the beaches of Kuwait that the Iraqi military was occupying at the time, Iraqi troops released oil at the Persian Gulf.

At least eight oil tankers, a refinery, two terminals, and a tank field were dumped in the waters and for at least three months, oil continued to spill into the Gulf at a rate of up to 6,000 barrels a day.

“Some of the oil spilled deep into the sea, burrowing up to 40 cm in the sand and mudflats. It remains there to this day,” writes Nick Barber in coursework published for Stanford University in 2018. “This disaster does not just highlight the responsibilities humans have in managing oil wells, rigs, pipelines, and tankers, it demonstrates how carelessness with a non-renewable energy source and pollutant, purposeful or not, can have devastating long-term environmental impacts that cannot be undone.”

In 2017, ScanEx and the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences began conducting the pilot project on the satellite monitoring of the state of the water of the Persian Gulf.

The results of the research confirmed the severe levels of oil pollution in the gulf waters and the damage, some of it which have been irreversible, on its marine life.

“In addition to military-led pollution, other issues such as warming waters due to climate change and the increasing saline levels due to desalination efforts by countries in the Gulf area aggressively worsening marine productivity and habitats,” says George Stacey, an analyst working with Norvergence, an environmental advocacy NGO.

Oceans are heating at a higher rate than were previously predicted and the Persian Gulf, which is already a relatively warm body of water due to its location and its shallow basin, makes it particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Scientists at the Climate Change Forum at the seventh World Government Summit in Dubai explained that rising sea temperatures could wipe out a third of the gulf’s marine species by 2090.

The findings have also been confirmed by a study conducted a the University of British Columbia (UBC), that a combination of human activities was pushing at least 35 per cent of the fauna in the Gulf waters to extinction in the next 60 years.

“The ongoing damage on the marine and coastal environment is going to impact the marine productivity which will have serious impacts on the health and commerce of the region,” adds Stacey.

Researchers at UBC state that environmental loss will particularly carry a heavy economic impact on fishing industries. Fisheries of Bahrain, with a relatively large fishing industry, and Iran, with the highest catch and fewer employment alternatives due to sanctions, are pointed out to be particularly vulnerable.

“The sea is very important to all the countries in the region and preserving it should be a priority on an individual, national, and regional levels,” says Stacey.

“A lot of the damage done in the past few decades cannot be reversed completely but it is not too late to prioritize the sustainability of the marine ecosystems of the gulf waters right now because any damages to it will trickle down to impact the communities living on its coasts and reverse years of development and advancements.”


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The post Warming Temperatures & Decades of Oil Spills Cause Irreversible Damage to the Persian Gulf appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Rabiya Jaffery is a freelance journalist covering climate change, migration, and human rights in the Middle East and South Asia. She is currently a reporting fellow for Norvergence, an international climate communications NGO.

The post Warming Temperatures & Decades of Oil Spills Cause Irreversible Damage to the Persian Gulf appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Categories: Africa

Niger: French tourists among eight killed by gunmen

BBC Africa - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 18:36
They were in a region which attracts visitors who want to see the last herds of giraffe in West Africa.
Categories: Africa

MotoGP: Brad Binder wins in Czech Republic for maiden victory

BBC Africa - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 17:19
South African Brad Binder wins his first MotoGP in only his third race with victory in this season's third round in the Czech Republic.
Categories: Africa

MV Wakashio: Emergency declared as Mauritius tackles oil leak

BBC Africa - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 16:17
Volunteers are scrambling to create cordons to keep oil leaking from a vessel away from the island.
Categories: Africa

MV Wakashio: Locals in Mauritius try to stop oil spill

BBC Africa - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 15:50
The MV Wakashio, which ran aground on a coral reef on 25 July, is now leaking oil.
Categories: Africa

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2020 – Statement of the Indigenous Partnership (TIP)/NESFAS

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 15:45

Phrang Roy, Chairperson NESFAS, India
Coordinator, The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (TIP).

By Phrang Roy
ROME, Aug 9 2020 (IPS-Partners)

As we commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, let us not forget that supporting Indigenous Peoples is not only a social good; it is also a sound development policy.

Defending the lands, languages and cultural practices of indigenous peoples and tackling the racism and injustices against them will lessen the outbreaks of future pandemics and manage climate change.

Phrang Roy

Although there has been no homogenous pattern in the responses of Indigenous Peoples to COVID 19, Indigenous Peoples in many countries such as India (Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim), Thailand (Northern Thailand), The Philippines (Cordillera Region) etc. have very few COVID cases and their coping strategies have displayed their resilience. Their close relationship to nature and their respect of the wisdom and advice of Elders and those in governance have helped them to smoothly follow traditional isolation practices and to turn to often neglected local livelihoods and local food production systems.

There are of course indigenous communities in isolation such as those in the Amazon Basin for whom COVID 19 poses a huge threat to their lives and culture.

The Pastoralists whose livelihoods depend on animals and who move from place to place seeking water and pasture are also seriously challenged and terrorised by the Pandemic and the travel bans. The world must not leave them behind.

Their Right to Life, Traditional Livelihoods, Practices and Culture must be supported as universally enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Eighty percent of the world’s remaining biocultural diversity is in indigenous lands and territories.

Let us all recognise this as a critical asset for building a more sustaining and pandemic-free world for all.

The post International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2020 – Statement of the Indigenous Partnership (TIP)/NESFAS appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Phrang Roy, Chairperson NESFAS, India
Coordinator, The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (TIP).

The post International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2020 – Statement of the Indigenous Partnership (TIP)/NESFAS appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Categories: Africa

Chad prison deaths: Report disputed claim of mass poisoning

BBC Africa - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 12:15
Prosecutors in Chad had suggested 44 prisoners killed themselves, but a new report says otherwise.
Categories: Africa

Letter from Africa: 'How I helped put Gambians on Google Maps'

BBC Africa - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 01:31
A journalist is instrumental in the introduction of an address system which could help save lives.
Categories: Africa

Coronavirus: Fact-checking fake stories in Africa

BBC Africa - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 01:22
We've taken a look into some of the most widely-shared false stories about the pandemic across Africa.
Categories: Africa

Africa Olympic stories: Sizwe Ndlovu overcomes racism and poverty to win gold in 2012

BBC Africa - Sat, 08/08/2020 - 21:26
South African rower Sizwe Ndlovu on overcoming racism and poverty to win a historical gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
Categories: Africa

Mogadishu: Several killed in attack at Somali military base

BBC Africa - Sat, 08/08/2020 - 12:27
The militant group Al-Shabab has said it was behind the explosion that rocked the capital Mogadishu.
Categories: Africa

Talking about Beyoncé's Black Is King

BBC Africa - Sat, 08/08/2020 - 12:02
A student, a professor and a film director react to Beyoncé's visual album, Black Is King.
Categories: Africa


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