July 2011's Edition of
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FAO Issues New Report on Impact of Climate Change on Water and Food
The Food and Agriculture Organization has issued a new report, Climate Change, Water, and Food Security, that looks at how climate change will exacerbate water scarcity and complicate efforts to improve food security. In reviewing the latest scientific evidence, the report warns that rising temperatures will accelerate the world's hydrological cycle, increasing the rate of evaporation from land and sea, and creating more droughts and flooding. The report warns that these changes, along with the eventual loss of the annual runoff from glaciers, will force farmers in arid areas to accelerate the depletion of underground aquifers. "Both the livelihoods of rural communities as well as the food security of city populations are at risk," said FAO Assistant Director General for Natural Resources, Alexander Mueller. "But the rural poor, who are the most vulnerable, are likely to be disproportionately affected."
2011 Failed States Index Released
The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine released their 7th annual Failing States Index in June. The index, which rates nations based on 12 factors, including demographic pressures, listed Somalia as the world's least stable state, followed by Chad, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Haiti. As in previous years, the vast majority of the top failing states have rapidly growing populations. Only one of the countries (Burma) in this year's top 20 had a total fertility rate (TFR) of less than 3.5 children per woman. More than half of them have TFRs in excess of 5.0. In releasing this year's index, the authors noted that natural disasters played a role in destabilizing several governments, but noted that "Although natural disasters affecting major population centers will almost always have a significant impact on countries, the state's capacity to adequately respond makes the difference between a manageable crisis and a humanitarian catastrophe."
U.S. Census Bureau Projects World Population at 9.4 billion by 2050
The U.S. Census Bureau released its latest world population projections in June. The latest revision shows world population reaching an estimated 9.4 billion by 2050. The biggest gains are likely to occur in Africa, where it's anticipated that population will double in the next forty years. Nigeria's population, currently 166 million, is on track to exceed 400 million by 2050, while Ethiopia's population, presently 91 million, will jump to an estimated 278 million by mid-century. The Census Bureau's projections assume that fertility rates will continue to decline in most parts of the world, including Africa, but it noted that fertility rates are actually increasing in some part of the world, including Spain and Italy. India's population will surpass China's by 2025, making it the world’s most populous nation.
Worst Places in the World to be a Woman
Women around the world face grave challenges like: rape, infanticide, female genital mutilation, and sex trafficking. This month the Thomson Reuters Foundation released a survey listing the five worst countries in the world to be a woman. The survey ranked each country by six factors: health, discrimination and lack of access to resources, cultural and religious practices, sexual violence, human trafficking, and conflict-related violence. The results showed that Afghanistan was the worst place in the world to be a woman followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia in decreasing order.
Oxfam Releases New Report on "Growing a Better Future"
Right now there are 925 million hungry people worldwide and it is possible that this number will climb to 1billion by the end of the year due to extreme weather and rising food prices. That would be the highest level since the food crisis in 2008, when there were food protests in 61 countries. By 2050, when the world will be coping with some of the worst effects of climate change, world population could exceed 9 billion, with 4 billion of those people living in areas that are chronically short of water.
Rep. Ellmers Introduces Bill in House of Representatives to Defund UNFPA
Rep. Renee Ellmers introduced a bill (H.R. 2059) last month that would eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA works to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. Currently, the U.S. is contributing $40 million a year to support UNFPA's work, but opposition is building in the U.S. House of Representatives.