With its muddy roads, humble huts, and constant military patrols, Bajo Aguán, Honduras feels a long way away from the slick polish of the recurring UN climate negotiations in the world’s capital cities. Yet the bloody struggle going on there strikes at the heart of global climate politics, illustrating how market schemes designed to “offset” carbon emissions play out when they encounter the complicated reality on the ground.
At a World Social Forum event in 2006, Walden Bello warned that the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was careening down a track to disaster. Civil society needed to insist that negotiators pull back before the Round went off a cliff, the founder of Focus on the Global South said. Although the global economy has certainly changed since then, the WTO seems stuck on the same track.
A prominent part of holiday festivities is chocolate, one of our most adored comfort foods. Chocolate is made from the beans (actually the seeds) of the pods that grow on the trunk and main branches of the cocoa plant. In a fitting tribute to the Mayan (and later the Aztec) belief in the divine origin of cocoa, Swedish scientist and father of modern plant taxonomy, Carolus Linnaeus, gave the cocoa tree the name Theobroma cacao. Theobroma is Greek for “food of the gods,” and cacao is derived from the Mayan word ka’kau.
Thanks to the US’s 2009 Global Food Security Act, food aid policy for the first time mandates the use of genetic modification technologies. Nidhi Tandon looks at how this legislation helps biotechnology companies monopolise the seed industry at the expense of farmers, and explores some of the dubious links between these corporations, the Gates Foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
As the blood-spattered violence of the drug war takes over the headlines, many Mexican men, women, and children confront the slow and silent violence of starvation. The latest reports show that the number of people living in “food poverty” (the inability to purchase the basic food basket) rose from 18 million in 2008 to 20 million by late 2010.
On April 29, 2011 the Chamber of Deputies approved the constitutional reform that establishes the right to food in Mexico. On August 17, the Senate received reports that the required majority of the states in the country had approved the reform and ordered its publication in the official federal record.
The political causes of famine in the Horn of Africa are completely absent from the rhetoric of Bono’s ONE campaign.
Standing on the imaginary line that divides the two countries, Sicilia said, “We came to ask our Central American brothers and sisters to forgive us for having not spoken up before, for not having the consciousness and the strength necessary to prevent the kidnapping and murder that has affected thousands of migrants and Mexican citizens and has torn apart their families.”
Come October, Atlas won’t be shrugging, he’ll be groaning as global population passes the 7 billion mark. Until very recently, demographers predicted that these numbers would peak in 2050 at just over 9 billion and then start to decline. The latest research, however, suggests that despite declining fertility across much of the world, population will continue to rise through this century to over 10 billion people. With famine spreading in Somalia, another food crisis gripping North Korea, global food prices near a record high, and climate change threatening to reduce future harvests, the question continues to nag: are we outstripping our capacity to feed ourselves?
In 2005, President Bingu Wu Mutharika of Malawi embarked on an innovative five-year solution to promote Malawi’s agriculture sector by increasing farm subsidies and allocating 10 percent of the national budget to the agriculture sector to help promote infrastructure and farm training. Despite concerns from the World Bank and the UN, President Mutharika promoted Malawi’s agriculture sector and decreased poverty from 52 percent to 40 percent while turning Malawi into a food basket not only for its people but also for export.