Archive for the ‘Investment’ Category

Jul29

Crowd Sourcing Financial Solutions to Hunger: What Will the Policy Outcome Be?

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By Ioulia Fenton

A recent FAO online forum invited suggestions and ideas on improving agricultural development. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Over the last few weeks, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held the 81st online Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition. Drawing on 4,000 members from 170 countries and territories, the platform claims to allow “stakeholders such as academics, researchers, development practitioners, governments, and the civil society to actively participate in [key debates].”

The latest discussion, “Innovative financing for agriculture, food security and nutrition,” invited participants to comment on different Innovative Financing Mechanisms (IFMs) that have been suggested to complement Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) efforts in developing nations and come up with novel ideas of their own.

IFMs are mechanisms that lie outside traditional channels of funding (like ODA and private sector investment) that aim to reach under-serviced rural and poor populations. According to the FAO, they are needed now more than ever because, due to population growth and lifestyle change, the world’s food requirements are expanding at a time when ODA destined for agriculture is declining and private investment is found to be wildly lacking or even, at times, non-existent.

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Jul06

New Harvest’s Jason Matheny Shares Perspectives on the Future of Meat Alternatives

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By Kevin Robbins

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, between 1970 and 2010 the number of cows raised for human consumption rose 32 percent to reach 1.4 billion, pigs rose 76 percent to reach 965 million, and chickens rose 273 percent to reach 19.4 billion. But despite its popularity, current levels and methods of meat production and consumption can have an adverse effect on human health, the environment, and animal welfare.

Jason Matheny is working to produce economically viable meat substitutes. (Photo credit: MercoPress.com)

New Harvest is an organization that supports research regarding economically viable meat substitutes and provides a forum for sharing related innovations. In the interview below, New Harvest founder Jason Matheny talks about the work of the organization and his perspectives on the future of meat alternatives.

Why did you start New Harvest and what is its primary focus?

I founded New Harvest in 2003 because there wasn’t an organization devoted to advancing technologies for new meat substitutes. There are several companies making plant- or mycoprotein-based meat substitutes, but there was no organization working on more advanced technologies, such as cultured meat, and no organization looking broadly at how to replace animal proteins with advanced substitutes. We fund academic research, conferences, and economic and environmental assessments. We’ll probably continue focusing on these areas, since it addresses an important need.

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Jun27

Nourishing the Planet TV: Looking to Women to Chart a New Course for Environmental Conservation

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In this week’s episode, Nourishing the Planet discusses how New Course is connecting on-the-ground conservation efforts with funders to ensure women farmers are involved in environmental conservation.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIGs1bG103k

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Jun25

Eating Planet: Carlo Petrini Discusses Buying Food and Paying for Your Values

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By Marlena White

On Thursday, June 28, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition will release Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet in New York City. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a contributing author of Eating Planet, and shares his views on how to fix the broken food system. The event is full but please tune in on the 28th via livestream: we will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook.

In Eating Planet, Carlo Petrini discusses paying for food in terms of values. (Photo credit: Bruno Cordioli)

In a chapter introduction for Eating Planet – Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet—the newly released book from the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition—International Slow Food Movement founder Carlo Petrini discusses what paying a fair price means, and why it’s important for the sustainability of the world’s food supplies.

Petrini begins by explaining that sustainability means the plans we make, both in terms of individual and higher-level actions, must be able to last over the long term and on many different levels, taking into account social, economic, and environmental factors. With its many impacts on these factors, he says, food is crucial to sustainability as a whole.

According to Petrini, what we eat, including the time and money we put into it, is an investment in both our health and the state of the environment. He says it also reflects a certain set of values that can have strong implications for sustainability. These values may be the bottom line of overall profits, or longer term considerations like protecting the health of ecosystems and the livelihoods of our food producers. Petrini argues that the values inherent in our food should be included in their price, especially after accounting for what these values contribute to the sustainability of the planet.

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Jun25

Women’s Major Group “Disappointed and Outraged” at the Rio+20 Outcomes

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By Seyyada A Burney

Last week’s Rio+20 Conference brought together 50,000 NGOs, policymakers, and activists from around the world to discuss sustainability. Unfortunately, many groups, including organizations that support reproductive health and women’s rights, went home disappointed with the final outcome document, The Future We Want. In a statement released Sunday, the Women’s Major Group (WMG) at Rio+20, which represented over 200 civil society women’s organizations, expressed anger and frustration at the results of the final outcome document.

Though there was unanimous agreement on women’s rights, discussions at Rio+20 left little time for affirmation of those rights and concrete commitments. (Photo credit: www.wecf.eu)

Sascha Gabizon, Executive Director of Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), noted: “Two years of negotiations have culminated in a Rio+20 outcome that makes almost no progress for women’s rights and rights of future generations in sustainable development.” Among the document’s most notable omissions are the issues of reproductive rights, access, and the links between gender and climate change.

“The lack of recognition of reproductive rights as essential to sustainable development was especially disappointing,” said Anita Nayar, Executive Committee Member of Development Alternatives with Women for A New Era (DAWN). Reproductive rights are universally recognized as human rights, and the 1992 Earth Summit document, Agenda 21, and the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action already made the connection between reproductive health and sustainable development. However, The Future We Want fails to even mention sexual and reproductive rights. The document is also devoid of any firm commitments to improving women’s rights to land and property, effectively depriving half the world’s population of access to vital natural resources. Combined, these two oversights fail to acknowledge the ways in which women are more frequently and adversely affected by climate change.

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Jun20

Women and Sustainability: Women and Business Development at Rio+20 – An Interview with Tess Mateo

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Nourishing the Planet is collaborating with Women Deliver to highlight the important role of women, youth, and reproductive and sexual rights in sustainable development at the upcoming Rio+20 conference.

Name: Tess Mateo

Tess Mateo speaks on the importance of women's business development. (Photo credit: Tess Mateo)

Affiliation: Managing Director and Founder of CXCatalysts

Bio: Tess has served as director in the office of the CEO at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the strategic advisor to the Joint US China Collaboration on Clean Energy, and has launched a real estate group, technology company, and innovative specialty clothing line. Tess is also a member of the New York chapter of the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation. Tess will be a panelist at the Innovative Collaborations Driving Inclusive Sustainable Growth event at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The program is organized in part by CXCatalysts and BPW and will focus on women empowerment and clean water and clean energy business for sustainable growth.

What motivated you to get involved with BPW International and why is developing professional and leadership potential in women important?

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Jun18

Joaquin Navarro-Valls: Constructing a Culture of Responsibility

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By Carly Chaapel

On Thursday, June 28, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition will release Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet in New York City. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a contributing author of Eating Planet, and shares his views on how to fix the broken food system. Tune in on the 28th via livestream: we will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook.

Navarro-Valls calls for a global culture of individual and collective responsibility to end world hunger. (Photo credit: libreriaontanilla.com)

Lately, issues concerning sustainable development have been focused primarily on developing countries such as China and India, where consumption trends are increasing dramatically.  Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the president of both the Telecom Italia Foundation and Advisory Board Biomedical University of Rome, believes that we should take action on sustainability that includes all countries. He believes that globalization should focus on personal responsibility and education. In an interview featured in Eating Planet 2012 – Eating today: A challenge for Man and for the Planet, by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, he says that we are too quick to condemn these countries for “unsustainable” practices such as deforestation. Navarro-Valls claims that we solve our issues “by dumping upon developing countries the responsibility for that problem and the corresponding measures.” Rather than industrialized countries using money and power to displace waste upon less developed countries, every citizen of every nation should claim personal responsibility for their actions.

Navarro-Valls insists that any decision that affects people must begin with a sense of responsibility, rather than actions from international institutions or NGOs. Although responsibility is felt on an individual level, national politics and global legislation can be designed to encourage personal and collective responsibility. For example, consumers now have the purchasing power to choose certified organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance coffee, chocolate, and other products. Certification programs can encourage coffee drinkers to choose a more environmentally sustainable product.

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Jun16

Women and Sustainability: Recognizing the Role of Women at Rio+20

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By Seyyada Burney and Emilie Schnarr

Nourishing the Planet is collaborating with Women Deliver to highlight the important role of women, youth, and reproductive and sexual rights in sustainable development at the upcoming Rio+20 conference.

Self-Employed Women’s Association in Ahmedabad, India. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

From sustainable cities to renewable energy, some of the most crucial areas of development policy remain devoid of any mention or dialogue on the issue of women’s rights. To put these neglected issues on the global agenda, numerous governments, executives, NGOs, and civil society activists will gather next week to represent the voices of the women, youth, and children around the world at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20.

This meeting will mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit which convened thousands of people and 172 governments in 1992, and resulted in conventions on biodiversity and climate change. Poverty eradication and sustainability through a greener economy are the main topics of conversation at this month’s meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015, are also expected to be evaluated, and discussions are underway about a new global framework that looks at potential “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

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Jun13

Putting Youth and Reproductive Rights on the Agenda at Rio +20: An Interview with Ivens Reis Reyner

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Crossposted from Women Deliver.

The Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project is collaborating with Women Deliver to highlight the important role of women, youth, and reproductive and sexual rights in sustainable development at the upcoming Rio+20 conference.

Ivens Reiner discusses the importance of youth and reproductive rights in discussions at Rio+20. (Photo credit: Youth Coalition)

As the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio +20, rapidly approaches, organizations from around the world are pushing for issues related to youth and reproductive rights to be prioritized within the sustainable development agenda.  The Youth Coalition is an organization of young activists from around the world who bring attention to the sexual and reproductive rights of youth locally and globally.  Representatives from the Youth Coalition will be at Rio +20 to inform governments about the connections between sustainable development and sexual rights.

Ivens Reis Reyner, a 22-year-old activist from Brazil who is passionate about these issues, is one of the Youth Coalition’s worldwide members.

What motivated you to get involved with the Youth Coalition and what is your role within the organization?

I started getting involved with sexual and reproductive rights as an activist when I was just twelve years old.  This motivated me to join the Youth Coalition.  I applied and have been working with the organization for four years now doing workshops and conferences.  Rio has been an important starting point for discussions on the rights-based approach.  I think including young people from the [Global] South as part of the discussion is important because the needs of people from the North are totally different.  Not enough people from the [Global] South are attending Rio +20, mostly due to financial and language barriers.  I think it’s crucial to have their participation in these discussions.

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Jun12

Eating Planet: An Interview with Hans Herren

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By Marlena White

On Thursday, June 28, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition will release Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet in New York City. Today, Nourishing the Planet highlights a contributing author of Eating Planet, and shares his views on how to fix the broken food system. If you live in NYC, you can register to attend for FREE by clicking HERE, or tune in on the 28th via livestream. We will be taking questions in real time from the audience, from the livestream, and from Twitter and Facebook.

Hans Herren (Photo credit: The Millennium Institute)

Hans Herren is an entomologist, farmer, development specialist, World Food Prize laureate, and co-chair of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). He is also the president of the Millennium Institute, which works to inform decision-making centered on a shared responsibility for the planet’s common future. In an interview for Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet, a new book from the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, Herren discusses the key challenges for transitioning to sustainable agriculture systems that can feed the planet.

According to Herren, the greatest challenges facing agriculture and the food system include the need to address hunger and poverty, encourage better nutrition and health, adapt to climate change, reduce inequities, and support rural livelihoods. He says that agriculture must provide a sufficient amount of quality fiber and food that is affordable for consumers while being economically viable for producers and sustainable for the environment. He believes that the three biggest problems faced by agriculture are climate change, competition with the biofuel sector, and the increase of fossil energy prices and fossil fuels’ impending scarcity.

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