Category: Pages & Noteboard

This BLOG “sustain-earth” is an In-clusive, Inter-active, Inter-disciplinary and Inter-sectorial platform to implement “Sustainability and Applied Sustainability” in all sectors, on all levels and anywhere. It is, also, a market-oriented platform for transforming “Sustainability and Applied Sustainability”, from individual, narrow and fragmented understanding to a holistic and applied prospective. The search of man for secured living confronted with fundamental life processes on earth and resulted in major threats endangering the land-water resources and the very survival of life.

The “BLOG” is constructed in two parts: Part (1) is a “theoretical and knowledge-based one”; and Part (2) is a “practical and applied one”. Both parts are inter-related and supplement each other where Part (1) “Categories, posts & Discussions” explains the theoretical background upon which Part (2) “Pages & Note-board” is based. Both parts are spanning over all national sectors (private, public and governmental) and involve, also, inter-governmental organizations and relevant international bodies. Furthermore, the structure and built-in dynamics of the “BLOG” seek the integration of individuals, groups, companies, organizations, communities, societies, ….. etc. on both horizontal and vertical levels. The motivation, goal and vision are to bring about coherent sustainable systems through linking together all building blocks. Sustainability, i.e. concepts and knowledge therein, is being explained in Part (1) while Part (2) is devoted to more Applied and practical issues for production, communication and services.

Through its Editorial Board and Guest Bloggers and contact points, the BLOG is acting as “Open Access” instrument for coupling education and research with market and society needs, and thereby supporting professionals, including young ones, for creating, improving and up-dating “Career Development Plans” to suit an ever dynamic and changeable labor market. It is an instrument for enhancing public awareness, promoting capacity building as well as for supporting the development and management of human resources and infra-structures for quality services in public and private sectors.

Recent Addition: Professor Torbjörn Ebenhard on the Editorial Board, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

We are greatly honoured to have Professor Torbjörn Ebenhard on the Editorial Board of sustain-earth.com. Professor Torbjörn Ebenhard is the Deputy director of the Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Professor Ebenhard is a biologist with a B. Sc. degree from Uppsala University and a Ph. D. degree in zoological ecology from the same university. His early research was focused on island biogeography and conservation biology. Presently he is employed by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and based at its Swedish Biodiversity Centre (CBM). It is a special unit for research and communication on conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity as a crucial issue for society, especially as related to Sweden’s implementation of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Its mission is to initiate, conduct and coordinate policy-relevant research on the complex interactions between biodiversity and social development, and contribute to society’s capacity to manage these interactions in a sustainable way.

Apart from administrative tasks of Professor Ebenhard at CBM, he works on a number of assignments from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, supporting their activities on biological diversity in Sweden, and in international negotiations. Professor Ebenhard is mainly involved in the negotiations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), as a member of the Swedish national delegations. He is also member of the Scientific Council on Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Services at the SEPA, and serves on the board of WWF Sweden.

As explained by Professor Ebenhard “The recent Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services produced by IPBES shows that the present and projected global loss of biodiversity jeopardizes our possibilities to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Humanity is ultimately dependent on biodiversity for its wellbeing and survival. The food we eat, the clean water we drink, the clean air we breathe, fibres for clothing, wood for building homes, and bioenergy to replace fossil fuels – all is provided by biological diversity. But more is at stake. As we deplete the resources that could support us, we also annihilate living organisms and degrade natural ecosystems. According to the IPBES report at least 1 million species of animals and plants are now threatened with extinction. However, the IPBES report also gives hope, as it states that we can bend the curve of biodiversity loss, if we are determined to do so. What it takes is nothing less than a transformative change of the entire human society.”

Professor Ebenhard also reminds us that “Ten years ago the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which almost all countries are party, decided on a strategy and a set of global goals to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity, the so-called Aichi targets. They represent a high level of ambition, a much needed component of the transformative change IPBES envisages. CBD’s report Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, issued in September 2020, shows that none of the 20 Aichi targets will be met in full. This disappointing result, at a time when all targets should have been met, is due to a widespread inability by governments to implement the CBD strategy at the national level. Goals and targets at the national level have generally been set at a too low level of ambition, and national measures to reach these goals and targets have been insufficient. We do know, however, that when governments, as well as companies and individuals, have taken appropriate action, it does work, as shown by many successful cases of conservation and sustainable use around the world. But they are too few to bend the negative curve at global level.”

According to Professor Ebenhard “We now suffer the ravages of the covid-19 pandemic to our health and economy, while the growing climate crisis promises to make things much worse, but the looming biodiversity crisis will be of a completely different magnitude. The challenge now is to find integrated solutions, where the entire human society is involved in handling pandemics (there will be more than the present one), climate change and biodiversity loss. For this to happen we need people and decision makers to be aware of the nature of these crises, involve all stakeholders, set new ambitious strategies and goals for biodiversity and ecosystem services, strengthen national implementation and global cooperation, and work in a truly integrated way to address biodiversity loss, climate change and human wellbeing.”

Links: 

Swedish Biodiversity Centre: https://www.slu.se/en/Collaborative-Centres-and-Projects/swedish-biodiversity-centre1/

Convention on Biological Diversity: https://www.cbd.int/, and its report Global Biodiversity Outlook: https://www.cbd.int/gbo5

IPBES: https://ipbes.net/, and its Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: https://ipbes.net/global-assessment

Read more about the global biodiversity in the 2020 report (in English by the World Wildlife Fund ’WWF’, leading organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species (https://f.hubspotusercontent20.net/hubfs/4783129/LPR/PDFs/ENGLISH-FULL.pdf). Alternatively, hear the views of Swedish experts (in Swedish) on the state of biodiversity by 2020 where Professor Torbjörn Ebenhard is also contributing in (https://youtu.be/kf-bvla6GrU).

Torbjörn Ebenhard

ESG Sustainability Factors – Godfrey Mchunguzi Oyema

Sustain-Earth.Com is introducing an ESG (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental,_social_and_corporate_governance) Fund-Raising team where Mr. Godfrey Mchunguzi Oyema, Tanzania, is excellent addition to sustain-earth.com. Mr. Godfrey Mchunguzi Oyema is a passionate and results-driven Environmentalist, Biodiversity (Wildlife) and Human Ecologist, ESG policy professional with understanding of the challenges facing biodiversity both in-situ and ex-situ conservation. His work involves analytical approaches to using observation strategies to predict and monitor behavior changes of animals in captivity and natural habitats. He has diverse and rich knowledge of managing animals in captivity using a variety of methods, as well as camera traps and behavior monitoring. His expertise is based on smooth business operations by collaborating with project partners and following projects from conceptualizing phase to completion including theory of change design, incorporation of partner needs and technical support.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) are three central factors in measuring sustainability dimensions and the societal impact of investments in companies. The social and environmental responsibility affects financial and economic performance in private and public sectors. The social capital is an important factor in establishing strong human capital and so is the case of the underlying environmental conditions of social frameworks. These are important in encouraging companies and capital markets to incorporate environmental and social challenges into their day-to-day decision-making.

ESG had also received most of the public and media attention, not least because of the growing fears concerning climate change which directed the spotlight more and more onto the corporate governance aspect of responsible investment. It brought also the focus to how the companies were managed, what the stockholder relationships were and how the employees were treated. The evidence toward a relationship between ESG issues and financial performance is becoming greater with wider recognition of the necessity of the sustainability in long-term investments. The environmental social and corporate governance are becoming increasingly important in the investment markets https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/environmental-social-and-governance-esg-criteria.asp).

Public goods are natural resource enjoyed by every person and it is impossible to prevent someone, including living organisms, consuming such good, e.g. air for breathing, water for drinking, sun and light to enjoy. Public goods are recognized as beneficial for everyone and therefore have existential values and necessities that must not be destroyed by one person or state. In this context, natural resources and the environment are global public goods that are should not be diminished, exhausted and/or degraded, e.g. a breathable atmosphere, stable climate and biodiversity. For these reasons Environmental Governance (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_governance) is also a political ecology and environmental policy concepts that advocates sustainability for management of all human activities. Governance includes government, business and civil society.

Sustain-Earth.Com will expand on ESG and its growing importance for promoting and achieving the UN-SDGs (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html).

The Magic of DIY – How to Make Your Own IPHONE 📱

What would Steve Jobs (https://sv.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs) says if he would have seen his life-time invention to be RECYCLED in the second-hand market in tiny small pieces, parts and components? Reverse Engineering ‘RE’ doesn’t leave any product, what-so-ever until it is copied, re-engineered and put together again and again even in its best original form. Every piece, part, component and/or even the smallest screws and contacts of any smart phone, including Iphone, or/and Ipads are now re-coded, re-sorted, put on shelfs, re-packed and sold in thousand of streets of China 🇨🇳. Also, for that matter anywhere else around the world. No wonder how curiosity, needs and motivations to survive van turn people to use their imagination to re-cycle and re-use even what we still define as SMART. It is the enormous, constant and pressing needs for reparation and maintenance of even the modern HIGH-TECK electronic devices and appliances have created new markets, series of supply chains and self-made employment around the world. High-speed production by automation in factories can be RE as needs and demand for services are huge and can save the economy of users. AI will also be copied no matter the level of intelligence and the recycling of intelligence will grow and flourish. Humans will always find ways to win over AI as the instinct of survival is an important attribute for search for better life. Intelligence is a key component for the survival of the fittest and it is why humans keeps expanding their intelligence specially with the accelerating access to knowledge and know-how through the Internet-Of-Things ‘IOT’. With the growing need and imperatives of sustainability, Recycling, Re-using and Re-creating can make our planet Great Again.

Yes we can, see here how you can build your own Iphone https://youtu.be/leFuF-zoVzA

COVID-19 – Inconvenient Truth About Health Care.

Statistics from around the world regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including the most developed countries in Europe and the USA, show considerable gaps in our health care systems in particular for the risk groups of world population. According existing data most infections and deaths do take place in hospitals (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52196978). It is an unprecedented truth in the 2020 that our modern health care systems, even in most advanced countries, are unable to provide safe and secure medical treatments for the most needed when it is needed. It is a scary reality for all of us, even for professionals in the health care sectors. The working conditions in hospitals and in health care systems are suffer from several uncertainties with clear associated risks to die among doctors and nurses in COVID-19 is also unacceptably high (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/asia-pacific-health-workers-risk-all-to-fight-covid-19/1791014; https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/90-000-healthcare-workers-infected-with-covid-19-icn/1831765). The pitfalls and other shortcomings in global health care systems and the related health consequence are being analyzed, assessed and compiled by WHO (e.g. 20200411-sitrep-82-covid-19.pdf). The figure given here shows people died with confirmed COVID-19 in England and Wales by week ending 27 March 2020 according to data from Office for National Statistics (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52196978). In this figure about 93% of the people infected by COVID-19 died in hospitals, i.e. a total of 501 persons out of a total of 538).

This situation and chaos didn’t take place overnight, though according to the UN-SDGs of 2017, Goal 3 calls is about: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/). Naturally the global health care system is very much dependent of other major factors: education; life on land; life under water; clean water and sanitation; poverty; hunger; energy; economic growth; industry and innovation; inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible production and consumption; climate action; peace and strong institutions; partnership in goals and gender equality, all of which are goals in the UN-SDGs-package. According to New York Times, we knew the coronavirus is coming, yet we failed “the vulnerabilities that COVID-19 has revealed were a predictable outgrowth of our market-based health care system”. Also, in Europe, the crisis has been systematically developed and evolved during very long periods, e.g. for Sweden (https://mobil.unt.se/ledare/mangarigt-kaos-i-varden-av-de-allra-aldsta-5564852.aspx) as the death of coronavirus in olderly health care is above 45%. There are several reports of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes across Europe, e.g. strains on health and social care systems and healthcare workers have been reported with shortages in laboratory and testing capacity, personal protective equipment and healthcare capacity (including ICU ventilator and healthcare workforce capacity and staff being absent due to illness, quarantine or isolation (covid-19-rapid-risk-assessment-coronavirus-disease-2019-eighth-update-8-april-2020.pdf). These highlight vulnerability of the elderly in long-term care settings and the importance of infection control measures to protect the vulnerable population in nursing homes. However, this is the situation of the reality as we know it today and more unknown data and facts will be unfolded gradually as the COVID-19 pandemic will still remain with us for some time. There is no definite answer how long it will keep circulating and how the future will be. Let us hope that we will not have the same fate as the dinosaurs, it was probably a virus that caused them to disappear. When science and technology has no solution it is only the natural laws of the survival of the fittest as described by Darwin.

Indeed, the pandemic is far from bring over and several counties, e.g. in Europe are hesitating in opening their economies or rather have considerable difficulties and uncertainties to do so. At the same time the rates of infections and death are still rapidly growing in many countries around the world, e.g. Russia, Brazil, India, Mexico,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Bangladesh, Colombia, South Africa, Egypt, Kuwait, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq and Bolivia (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/).

We are back to Darwins time of the 19th century which strongly motivated him to do research on biological evolution rather than studying medicine. Ironically, he didn’t realize the strong links between medicine and biological evolution which we are facing today because of our tight interaction with ecosphere to secure our food. In his research he answered many questions as how species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism).

Announcement – New Ph.D. Course “Sustainability in Science and Technology”.

REGISTRATION is opened for participation in a new Ph.D. faculty (Science and Technology) COURSE at Uppsala University “Sustainability in Science & Technology”. As far as possible and if places are available Ph.D. researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences are also welcome to register.

Deadline of registration is the 10 of October 2019. Please register as early as possible. 
“Sustainability in Science and Technology” treats strategic worldwide questions for scaling up science and technology to achieve sustainable  societies. WHAT is sustainability? WHY it is needed? and HOW to achieve sustainability.
Water, energy and natural resources are imperative for our living on planet earth, yet they are not INFINITE. The ongoing transformation to sustainable societies is both urgent and necessary. Water and energy systems require natural resources in their lifecycles.
Increasing global pressures on yet declining water, energy and natural resources come with a heavy price of severe impacts on environment, biodiversity and life quality. Sustainability in science and technology is the only means to cure and heal this paradox, however this can not be achieved overnight. 
“Sustainability in Science and Technology” is planned in lectures, study-visits and group discussions with “lecture-based” assignments. Group discussion are designed to benefit from the IT-based “Laborative Lärosalen” of UU. Target groups are PhD students in all domains of Science and Technology. Participant will not only gain knowledge on how to structure their own future “Career Development Plans” but also to shape and reshape ongoing global transformation to sustainable societies. Also,  in shaping what is meant by Sustainability.
The Course will be given during November and is schedules in two parts: the first two weeks (4/11 – 15/11) we will have 12 Invited Talks of 24 hours followed by two weeks (21/11 – 3/12) of Seminar and Assignments of 27 hours. 
The Ph.D. researchers at Uppsala University who completed the course in 2018 have very positive, yet critical, feedbacks with an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5. Following their evaluation and recommendations, it gives us much pleasure to invite you to sign up, join and follow this interesting and innovative journey of sustainability. I am convinced that your contributions will allow us to penetrate deep in real life questions/issues for generations to come.
Scaling up science and technology to meet the UN-SDGs is not only a major challenge for politicians and professionals but more importantly for universities around the world. For young academics the question is how to create career-development-plans to cope with uncertain market and future? Would the Paris agreement achieve its goal? If not why? and if yes what are the supporting measures needed so as the Paris agreement can fulfill its mission? 

Pre-announcement – The Imperatives of 2050-2100 “Sustainability in Science and Technology”

Currently science and technology can not predict how life on Planet Earth would look like in 2050-2100. In fact, we are facing huge uncertainties what regards how life would look like for us and other species that are sharing the declining and degrading resources on Planet Earth. With the exceptions of Ice Ages, this situation never existed before in human history. The Imperatives for life in 2050-2100 have fundamental prerequisies: the foundation of Science and Technology and the associated Scientific Method has to be based to solid Sustainability Pillars. A post graduate course for Ph.D. researchers at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Uppsala University “Sustainability in Science and Technology” will take place in November 2019.

This is a pre-announcement and an open invitation to get feedback from those who either wish to participate or to contribute in the course. The processes and actions for scaling-up science and technology to meet the UN-SDGs would require partnership for international collaboration. Information on the content and composition of the course, is given in the attached document.

http://www.teknat.uu.se/digitalAssets/395/c_395062-l_1-k_sustainability-in-science-and-technology-2019.pdf

SWAS 16th International Annual Conference, Genève 12-16 April 2018.

The World Association for Sustainable Development “WASD” will organize its 16th International Annual Conference in 12-16 April 2018, Palais de Nations, Genève, Zwitzerland. To be co-organized and hosted by the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU).

The Theme is “Public private partnerships for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda  for sustainable development”. 

See more at: http://www.wasd.org.uk/books/palgrave-studies-of-sustainable-business-in-africa/tt-sudan/

3R-Culture for Saving Planet Earth from Waste and Pollution. 

The 3R-culture “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is establishing itself with key concepts in the ever expanding ideology and awareness of the fight against the accelerating pile-up of waste and pollution. Waste and pollution is not only a threat for endangering the whole life on planet Earth but it is also one of the main core reasons for global contrains and malfunctioning in industry and technology. Furthermore, it has also huge impacts on micro socio-economic developments and stability of rural and coastal environments in particular the livelihood of the poor and local communities that are dependent on the natural resources of their land-water systems.

These multi-layered and multi-scale threats taking place in the Anthropocene and are caused by an ever expanding cycles of “production-consumption-waste” with increasing rates that we have not seen its peak yet, the “Peak Waste” (https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/ReciclajeInclusivo/esquemas-inclusivos-de-responsabilidad-extendida-del-productor-aprendizajes-desafos-y-oportunidades-por-derek-stephenson, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/when-will-we-hit-peak-garbage-7074398/, http://environment-review.yale.edu/tags/industrial-ecology-urban-planning).

In low income countries with increaing transformation towards industrialisation and urbanization but yet with poor public infrastructures and almost non-existing policies for environmental protection and preservation, waste and pollution threats are enormous. However, a new 3R-culture is emerging from grassroot rural communities to save their livelihood which, unlike big national/international industries and production/urban facilities, is very much dependent on their living land-water resources where they live, work and develop roots that can last for decades or even generations.

In the photo is the WORLD’S FIRST: THE PLASTIC-ONLY BOAT TO FIGHT POLLUTION that was created by the people of Kenya of the East Coast of Africa. This dohow in over 30 tonnes of recycled plastic waste, a waste which is indeed Kenya has lots of it. Such waste became the raw materials making a 60-foot dhow that is set to sail from the Kenyan coast to South Africa, in an initiative meant to raise awareness on the growing menace of plastics to marine ecosystem and spur a plastic revolution.

See more at https://www.fairplanet.org/story/worlds-first-the-plastic-only-boat-to-fight-pollution/?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1501838864

UN-SDG – Emerging possibilities for collaboration.

Currently, we are exploring the possibilities of mutual collaboration with major players within global applied sustainability issues. This is an interesting example, where coupling of science and technology with society, population and market needs, of pressing and urget nature in particular what regards transboundary socio-economic developments in the framework of UN-SDG.

<a href=”https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLXHgKvdFTooyUZcIdNEi9wvVWjNSllBpV&v=ziLJ-FBGwK8&index=24″>https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLXHgKvdFTooyUZcIdNEi9wvVWjNSllBpV&v=ziLJ-FBGwK8&index=24</a>

Call – The Hong Kong SDG Junior Ambassador Programme 2017

As Supporting Organisation for the SDG Junior Ambassador Programme 2017, we have the pleasure to invite a Primary 4 to 6 student who are interested to know more about environmental issues and global issues happening at the United Nations and to seize this opportunity and join now! The deadline for application is on 24 Feb 2017! Follow our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/sdgja
More about the SDG Junior Ambassador Programme: Adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 2015, the SDGs is a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDG Junior Ambassador Programme will cultivate the mind-set of primary schools students on environment conservation and sustainability. It will also foster a deeper connection between students and global policies, so as to drive a Behavioural Change from Inception to Implementation towards educating the community to create a greener lifestyle.

(In Chinese)

我地係香港女青年商會SDG小專員計劃嘅支持機構,如有興趣了解環保或聯合國知識嘅小四至小六學生一齊參加啦! 截止報名日期係2月24號,把握機會呀! 想知多啲,記住follow我地Facebook專頁: www.facebook.com/sdgja
SDG小專員計劃簡介: 為響應聯合國定下的17個可持續發展目標 (SDGs),並加強在本地社區的推廣,香港女青年商會即將首度推出 「SDG 小專員計劃」,旨在招攬小四至小六年級的學生成為SDG小專員,透過一連串講座、參觀活動及培訓工作坊,加深對可持續發展目標的認識,從中更學習籌劃活動技巧及完善溝通能力,並於學校和社區進行實踐計劃。首屆計劃將集中環境保育議題。從籌辦大型活動當中,會員可提升個人領導才能、學習青商的工作計劃安排及流程,更可於社區層面宣揚聯合國可持續發展目標及提倡響應其目標之行動。

Korean’s Sustainability Concept for Water Resourse Management – Smart Water Grids 

The increasing pressures and competition on water resources on different spatio-temporal scales require developing more friendly and sustainable approaches to meet the increasing constrains from population growth, uncertain energy production and accelerating threats from global warming. 

Among newly emerging solutions is Grid-concept “water production-distribution-consumption” which is described in the attached Link that describes “Sustainable Water Distribution Strategy with Smart Water Grid” (http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/7/4/4240/htm).

About Me, my first turning point, culture awakeness and social awareness. 

When I see this photo, I recall strong feelings of some parts of my early life, i.e. up to the age of 11-12 years, or so. It is difficult to retrieve all the details of this period of childhood. The memory or the brain as such either had not developed enough to organize, sort all events, one by one and structure them in coherent series of events or there were no physical objects for every separate event that such events could be associated with. This can be also related to, that the brain was still in the process of development and therefore all events could not be easily available. Whatever the reasons were, formulation of the details of my early childhood would be limited to some separated and scattered memories.

So, as a matter of fact I do not remember everything on daily basis, as day by day events. However, I can only reflect in general terms how I and my own environments (home and family, school and free time) interacted together and with each other. This bunch of young kinds in the photo was among very few things I (the person far to the right) remember from my early childhood. As went to school all of us, we could only spend the summer holidays together and whenever we were allowed to spend sometime outside the walls of our houses. The area we were living in had no gardens and no special playing places for children, so we were left to own judgement to select among available children in our age, i.e. from the very near houses to us, one or two at most. Indeed, that worked out fairly good in my case and I do have very good reflections and memories with these bunch of young kids. My younger brother Mourad was always with us but he was the most quite of us all, he is the second to the left in the photo. The first to the left, Saeed, was our leader “the boss” and was always ready to defend all of us and could find smart ways to manage our group in difficult times, i.e. when we run in trouble as in few some cases when we behaved in “wayward” manner. Otherwise we had traditional street games, mini-football, jump rope, “hide and find”, rope competition, ……. . Later on, when I searched the group, I find him “Saeed” a polis officer in Port-Said, I was not surprised when I visited him as he managed the school, joined and graduated from the Polis High School in Cairo.  The one in the middle of the photo is Abou Zead, he was like all of us ready to share his free time, in frictions-free fashion and above all easy going, as we could alway be in agreement. The one next to me “Abbas”, more darker than us, was ready to do as we did. As far as I remember after we all became friends, i.e. getting over introductory conflicts, checks and acceptance from our parents, we had very nice time and fun together. My brother Mourad which I will tell more about later on, became a high ranked military engineering officer “radar specialist” in the Egyptian Army. The other two Abou Zead and Abbas, I lost track with them and I do not know anything about them.

Follow my story, in separate parts I will uncover more and more about myself and my journey in life.


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miscellaneous

Nothing specific at the moment but interested in being considered to contribute relevant content as and when

Author name: Rianne ten Veen
Speciality and expertise: Environment and disasters, faith-based environmentalism
Sector/Affiliation: Green Creation
Adress: England, UK
E-mail: rianne@greencreation.info
Type of contribution: articles

UN-SGD – Last Emergency Call For Intensive Care of Mother Earth

Indeed, UN-SDG can be regarded as the last call, after a series of regular and continuous calls on several regional and global levels, for meeting pressing and urgent needs for implementation of effective, practical and immediate solutions and measures of the pilling threats and degradation on earth’s environmental and climate systems.

Now the UNEP releases its recent GEO-6 Regional Assessment documents, May 2016. The Networking of “sustain-earth.com” got this information also from Hussein Abaza, an excellent Reporter on sustainability issues and Director at Centre for Sustainable Development Solutions “CSDS”, Cairo, Egypt.

A series of regional reports on the state of the planet’s health deliver the message that environmental deterioration is occurring much faster than previously thought and action is needed now to reverse the worst trends. The ‘Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments,’ published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), is a compilation of six reports examining environmental issues affecting the world’s six regions: the Pan-European region, North America, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and Africa.
The release of the regional assessments coincides with the second session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), which is convening in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23-27 May 2016. The Pan-European assessment will be launched at the eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia, on 8 June 2016.

The assessments found that the regions share a range of common environmental threats, including climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, population growth, rapid urbanization, rising consumption levels, desertification and water scarcity, which all must be addressed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The assessments involved 1,203 scientists, hundreds of scientific institutions and more than 160 governments, and are based on scientific data and peer reviewed literature. The regional assessments will inform GEO-6, which will be released before 2018 and will provide an assessment of the state, trends and outlook of the global environment.
The GEO-6 LAC assessment notes the strong impact of emissions from agriculture in the region, including an increase in nitrous oxide emissions of about 29% between 2000 and 2010 from soils, leaching and runoff, direct emissions and animal manure, and an increase in methane emissions of about 19% due to the plethora of beef and dairy cattle. Regarding air pollution, the assessment points to particulate matter (PM) concentrations above World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. In addition, Andean glaciers, which provide water for millions, are shrinking. The LAC region has eliminated lead in gasoline and made headway in reducing ozone-depleting substances.
Approximately 41% of all reported natural disasters over the last two decades have occurred in the Asia and the Pacific region, according to the regional assessment. In Southeast Asia, more than one million hectares is deforested annually. Other environmental issues discussed in the report reference that: approximately 30% of the region’s population drinks water contaminated by human feces; water-related diseases and unsafe water contribute to 1.8 million deaths annually; uncontrolled dumping is a significant source of disease; and population growth, a growing middle class and urbanization have led to higher emissions, ill-managed waste and increased consumption.
In West Asia, an increase in degraded land and the spread of desertification are among the region’s most pressing challenges, as they lead to an increase in water demand, over-exploitation of groundwater resources and deteriorating water quality. In addition, conflict and displacement are having severe environmental impacts, such as heavy metals from explosive munitions and radiation from missiles leaching into the environment, and increased waste production and disease outbreaks. Almost 90% of municipal solid waste is disposed of in unlined landfill sites and is contaminating groundwater resources. The report estimates that air pollution alone caused more than 70,000 premature deaths in 2010.
In Africa, air pollution accounts for 600,000 premature deaths annually. The report also highlights that 68% of the population had clean water in 2012. In addition, inland and marine fisheries face over-exploitation from illegal, under-reported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. According to the report, around 500,000 square meters of land in Africa is being degraded by soil erosion, salinization, pollution and deforestation. African megacities, such as Cairo, Kinshasa and Lagos, have inadequate sanitation services.
In North America, environmental conditions, including air pollution, drinking water quality and well-managed protected areas, have improved due to policies, institutions, data collection and assessment and regulatory frameworks. However, aggressive hydrocarbon extraction methods can lead to increased emissions, water use and induced seismicity, while coastal and marine environments are experiencing, inter alia, ocean acidification and sea-level rise. Climate change is exacerbating the drought in California by approximately 15-20%, and Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, was directly responsible for approximately 150 deaths and US$70 billion in losses. However, mitigation efforts are having a positive impact; for example, solar deployment made up 40% of the market for new electricity generation in the US in the first half of 2015, and solar now powers 4.6 million homes. In the Arctic, warming has increased at twice the global average since 1980, and over the past twenty years, summer sea ice extent has dramatically decreased, which has, inter alia, created new expanses of open ocean, enabling more phytoplankton to bloom and alter the marine food chain.
Overall, recommendations of the assessments include, inter alia: strengthening intergovernmental coordination at the regional and sub-regional levels; improving gathering, processing and sharing data and information; enhancing sustainable consumption and production (SCP); harnessing natural capital in a way that does not damage ecosystems; implementing pollution control measures; investing in urban planning; reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and diversifying energy sources; investing in environmental accounting systems to ensure external costs are addressed; and building resilience to natural hazards and extreme climate events. [UN Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [UNEP Knowledge Repository] [Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for Africa
] [Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for Asia Pacific]
 [Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for Latin America and the Caribbean
] [Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for North America] [
Factsheet for GEO 6 Regional Assessment for West Asia] [
Full Regional Assessment for Africa
] [Full Regional Assessment for Asia Pacific] 
[Full Regional Assessment for Latin America and the Caribbean
] [Full Regional Assessment for North America
] [Full Regional Assessment for West Asia].

Now it remains to see how these “SMART GOALS” will be further put in an effective and fast implementation agenda of actions. They are still many unclear details as what, when, how and where these goals will be dealt with in particular who will do what, how and when. Though the UN-SDG seem to be more or less specific in general terms, they need to be successful and instruments have to be put in place to measure such success as what you can not measure is does not exist and what you can not measure you can not control. Unless these goals become successful they will be gone with the wind as many other smart UN goals.

2016-05-30 08.22.08

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Education, R&D and Public Awareness are Imperative for Sustainable Policies 

Understanding existing pressures and constrains for implementation and performance of successful sustainable policies requires tight and continuous involvement of all citizens on large-scale and long-term socio-economic policies. 

Planet Earth is a complex living organism with delicate balance that makes possible the unique functioning and metabolism of all life forms on earth. Water, energy and natural resources are essential and basic components that contribute in the earth’s delicate balance. Modern neccessities and future challenges are becoming more and more clear and require from us and future generations to keep such balance in tact with nature’s own dynamic processes. Our consumption of water, energy and natural resources needs to take in consideration the nature’s own delicate balance. 

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Who should govern the Water? Policies or Politics

“Listen well, it is never in our interest to control and eliminate the illegal drilling because such actions can irritate our voters leading to lose any future election” Said a tribal Shaikh from Bani Hushaish, Yemeni Parliament Member.

Wherever you go with your eyes… here or there, to the north or south, east or west of the earth you will find the water issues are managed through a set of technical, social, economic, political…etc. tools. However, this does not mean that it is a same recipe of tools or solutions applicable for every country, region, area…etc. nor all countries adopt and apply all or some of these tools when managing their water resources and uses. What is quite sure is the adoption and application extent varies from country to country based on countries demand, consciousness, will, commitment and capabilities in applying the integrated concept when managing the water resources.

Water strategies and action plans are usually long term frameworks and actions that adopt and implement various water management tools and policies. Water policies are a sectorial tool to overall orient and manage the various water issues through the implemented water strategies and action plans. Given as an example, in the soccer game the decisions on team formulation, attack and defense tactics, player’s replacement…etc. are considered as the game strategy and or plans. On the other hand, rules that specify the playing ground area, game time, number of players, fouls and penalties kicks away of implementation…etc. are considered as the game policies. Similarly, the water strategies are long term strategic plans that determine goals, objectives, approaches, measures and interventions, main players, cross cutting issues, implementing issues…etc. that should be followed and implemented, while the water policies are simply a set of general rules and frameworks that orient, adjust, and determine the implementation of the water strategies and action plans. For instance, banning the importing or exporting of a specific crop that consumes high amount of water is considered as a water policy that can affect the water situation in a country while covering an irrigated area of one hundred thousand hectare with modern irrigation systems can be considered as strategic action that can be implemented during long period of time.

Politics is a state/regime measurements and actions that contribute to the establishment and implementation of both policies and strategies in all development and governing sectors including the water sector. Politics has significant and critical impacts on the on the water policies and strategies determining the effectiveness and efficiency of respective interventions implementation and the ultimate improvements in the water situation. On the other hand, the political systems and elites can also be affected by the way water issues are handled when implementing the adopted water policies and strategies. The effect level itself, however, depends mainly on to the extent the water users in particular and citizens in general are aware of their water interests, and able to move and put pressure on the political elites in order to manage the water resources efficiently, as well as the politicians consciousness about the importance the proper water management policies and strategies. Given as a live example, the German Green Political Party has succeeded to win more seats in the region parliamentarian election in some south and north regions like the Hessen Region in spite of being classified among the small political parties in Germany. Such success was due to the smartness of the party leadership in putting the environmental issues on the top of the party agenda giving the fact that people in those regions are highly aware and concerned of their environmental issues.

Without going that far, here in Yemen many contradictions between the water management policies and other governing politics existed representing a very interesting case full of vague and questionable decisions undertaken on many water. For instance, why did Yemeni Government and the former regime choose to excessively support the agriculture expansion during the last three decades although agriculture has insignificant contribution in the national GDP????!!!

Why did Yemen issue an official decree to ban the import of fruits and vegetables in the 1980s although it has critical adverse impacts on the groundwater in many water basins in Yemen????!!!!

Was it a sheer coincidence that the state politics hurried wildly establishing hundreds of casual dams out of which many were just awarded as gifts by the former president Ali Saleh to the tribes Shaikhs????!!! According to the National Water Strategy (NWSSIP), the total number of constructed dams reached 1000 dams in 2004. Excluding Marib Dam, the annual amount of water such numerous constructed dams could store does not exceed one third of the annual ground water abstracted from Sana’a Basin. Nevertheless, many soci, economic, and environmental adverse impacts have induced by such casualty of dams’ construction. Further, what is the rationality to go with dams’ construction option in a country that has an average of 200mm/year of rainfall and 2300mm/year of potential evaporation rate…!

Another inquiry, why did the government encourage Yemeni farmers to import drilling rigs and big pumps even without paying any type of customs or taxes for a long period of time???!!! Why has the government subsidized the diesel prices during that period as well???!!! Some may justify the taken politics mentioned above as to afford the country food security. However, as everybody knows that although all unpremeditated political measurements are applied, Yemen did not reach the delusive food security the former regime has publicized; nonetheless, we annually pump more than 40% of our finite and vulnerable groundwater to irrigate Qat crops which is neither considered a kind of food nor provides hard currencies that can be used to import food…!!! Others might justify it as to obtain development, stability and wealth for rural communities, and eliminate the increasing rates of internal migration from the countryside to the urban cities which maximizes the pressure on the public services such as water supply and sanitation, roads, schools, hospitals…etc. in the urban areas. However, statistics show that internal migration rates from rural to urban areas has increased annually till it reached up to 7% in the capital city of Sana’a which became amongst the top ten cities with highest population growth worldwide. On the other hand, rural economy that has relatively improved in some basins due to the agriculture leap induced during the 1980s was just a temporary delusive improvement. For instance, economic returns of agriculture attained by depleting huge amounts of fossil groundwater in many basins were spent either on building Luxurious houses or on travelling to some Arab countries for health treatment or tourism which ultimately didn’t provide any alternative economic activity that can secure a sustainable income for the rural communities once the groundwater is totally depleted. Is it right to assume that the politics and interests of the Yemeni politicians were and might still aiming to keep the majority of the Yemeni people busy with their farming business and away from the political game and ruling system? Who knows?

Another example, why Yemeni state still fails to control some hundreds of rigs that drill thousands of illegal wells annually???!!! Is it difficult for the respective security and local authorities to follow and control them everywhere? If so, why didn’t they hold the rigs when passing by the numerous security checkpoints exist elsewhere? Or why the drilling rigs were not hold even earlier when imported and entered through the national border ports where the state has a full controlling power and authority???!!! Are those hundreds of rigs owners more powerful than the Yemeni state??? If so, what kind of power do they have so that the government is disabled to control them???!!!

The simple and obvious factor is again the regime politics and interest that do not match with the water management policies as expressed by a Shaikh from Bani Hushaish, who was elected among the Moatammar Party elites in the national parliament in 2003. When I and another colleague from NWRA Sana’a Branch had admonished him for not cooperating in eliminating the illegal wells drilling in Bani Hushaish District, the Shaikh explicitly responded to us “Listen well, frankly it is never in our interest to control and eliminate the illegal drilling because such actions can infuriate our voters leading us to lose any further election in the future”. If so, it is clearly understood, why the symphony of the illegal wells drilling is still playing till this moment.

Now, if this is the opinion and intendancy of parliament members, it is not then surprising to conclude that all unjustified erroneous politics were not taken by the former regime for the purpose of rural communities’ development and national economy promotion as announced, yet it was just to satisfy the wide base of electors who live in the rural areas so they continue to support and elect the former regime elites in every election. On the other hand, as forth assumed it was also to keep the major base of voters away from the political game and country ruling system and process by keeping them busy with delusive unsustainable agricultural development and ensuring the political stability of the ruling regime; meanwhile, ignoring the critical and non-compensational costs and values such as the vanished groundwater resources that is still vulnerable for high depletion rates on the medium and long term periods. If it wasn’t the case, why the former regime didn’t follow and adopt right tools, policies and interventions for much more realistic and sustainable water management and national economy development???? Why was the former regime highly reluctant to support proper effective and efficient water management actions and interventions rather than the limited timely fictional measurements although the respective knowledge and experiences were available at that time?

Now, what are the results? Did the former succeeded to last as it had planned? Absolutely, no. Was the propaganda-based agricultural and economic development attained? It is never happened. Could the former politics of the state sustain our finite and vulnerable groundwater resources? Regrettably, they could not. The final question now on the today regime, government, political parties and elites, can they draw and learn some lessons of the past? Can they get rid of the personal and or political interest when managing the country different development issues including water? They should answer it yet not me or you dearest readers!

Last but not least, all of us as citizens of this lovely country before being politicians or voters, water users or managers have to consider and learn from the past, act with more comprehensive and integrated insights, and start adopting realistic proper and integrated water resources planning and management policies, tools, and interventions that ensure the public interest of Yemen at first and 25 million Yemenis soci and economic sustainable development at second.

,,,Allah bless and mercy Yemen and Yemenis

Best Regards

MSc. Abdulkhaleq Q. Alwan

IWRM Principle Advisor at MWE

Alwan10@gmail.com

Author name: Abdulkhaleq Alwan
Speciality and expertise: IWRM
Sector/Affiliation: Water Sector
Adress: Khawlan St, Sanaa – Yemen
E-mail: alwan10@gmail.com
Mobile: +967777148875
Type of contribution: Article

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MENA – Climate Chellenges Of Groundwater Resources

Water management is becoming IMPERATIVE with the increasing concern about the effects and impacts of global warming. Many ancient civilizations, if not all, evolved and sustained around water resources by using intensive water-demanding irrigation techniques.

The MENA region which helped birth of earliest agricultural civilizations is now signaling one of the strongest warnings of its mortality. It lost huge amount of its water resources mostly because the groundwater pumped up and out of the region’s fragile aquifers for irrigation. Groundwater is/was being over-pumped, some massively so, at rates much higher than ability to recharge. Ongoing global warming poses further threats for additiknal severe decline in groundwater resources unless counter measures and mitigation actions can be done.

http://ensia.com/features/groundwater-wake-up/