Archive for 2012

EGG-LAYING BY EARLY LEMURIANS PROJECTED IN MALAY FOLKLORE

May 29, 2012

EGG-LAYING BY EARLY LEMURIANS PROJECTED IN MALAY FOLKLORE

Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Guru Ra
A very popular legend among the Bruneians is the story of the great warrior Awang Semaun. The narrative about the great warrior reveals facets of the early kingship (sultanate) formation of Brunei and the institutions interwoven with it.
What I wish to highlight in the tale though is a more recondite facet: the tale’s revelation of the early egg-laying or oviparous way of laying children by the early Lemurians. Divine wisdom had revealed that the first phase of Lemurian races were gigantic, hermaphroditic types who reproduced largely through egg-laying.
The oviparous early Lemurians would later be recycled over and over in diverse folklore across the globe. A sample narrative of it is the story of Awang Semaun. Below is a summary of the legend.
[Philippines, 16 June 2011]

From: http://www.bt.com.bn/life/2008/05/25/awang_semaun_tale_of_a_brunei_warrior
Awang Semaun: Tale of a Brunei warrior
Foundation narrative: Awang Semaun was said to have 13 siblings from 13 different mothers, all legendary Brunei warriors who found Kampong Ayer and whose cries of ‘baru nah’ (‘now we found it’) gave Brunei its name. Picture: Rozan Yunos collection / Rozan Yunos –
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Sunday, May 25, 2008
IF ONE were to mention the name Awang Semaun to any Bruneian, he or she would conjure up a description of a strong brave warrior who has contributed to the existence of Brunei.

According to legend, Awang Semaun is said to be the younger brother of Awang Alak Betatar (who eventually became the first Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Muhammad Shah). Awang Semaun was made a Damong by his brother and he also later became the Pengiran Temenggong (one of the four wazir or viziers) who assisted the Sultan in governing the country.

Who was Awang Semaun? According to Brunei legends and one of the most famous epic poems which bore his name, Syair Awang Semaun, he was one of 14 brothers which included Awang Alak Betatar, Pateh Berbai, Pateh Mambang, Pateh Tuba, Pateh Sangkuna, Pateh Manggurun, Pateh Malakai, Pateh Pahit, Damang Sari, Pateh Sindayong, Damang Lebar Daun, Hapu Awang and Pateh Laila Langgong. The brothers all lived in different places with Awang Semaun and his brother Damang Sari living in Garang, near Kuala Labu in Temburong.

It was said that the father fathered the 14 children in his journeys . His grandfather was known as Sang Aji Brunei. His name is mentioned in another epic poem, Syair Negara Kartagama, written in 1365 where he was known as Sang Aji Baruwing (a variant of the name “Brunei”).

According to oral legends, despite being married for quite some time, he was childless. One day while walking outside his palace, he found a giant egg and brought it back to the palace. That night a young boy by the name of I-Pai Samaring was hatched. He later married the daughter of Sang Aji and gave birth to Alak Betatar.

While the princess was pregnant, she was craving for a tembadau (wild cow). I-Pai Samaring went hunting and managed to hit a tembadau with a spear but it got away. I-Pai Samaring followed the bloody trail through several villages. At each village, he married the daughter of the chieftain as it was considered a great honour. He married 13 times before he eventually found the tembadau.

Each of those wives later gave birth to the brothers of Awang Alak Betatar. When Awang Alak Betatar grew up, he went in search of his brothers and brought them together. They later went in search of a new place to build a country and when they found the location at the present Kampong Ayer, their cries of baru nah — “now we found it” — gave Brunei its name.

Awang Semaun is mentioned in a number of local folklores and legends. Whether he is the same Awang Semaun in all the other legends, one will never know.

According to Iban folklore, Awang Semaun or Sumaun is the son of Derom anak Sabatin. Derom, together with his father, alighted in Tanjong Batu (bordering Sarawak and Indonesia). Sumaun and his brother Serabungkok moved to Naga Rajang when they were grown up. Serabungkok married Lemina and gave birth to Dayang Ilam who later married Raja Semalanjat. The Ibans are said to be descendants of Serabungkok.

On the other hand, Semaun had a son name Tugau and the Melanaus are said to be the descendant of Tugau. According to Iban legend, Sumaun went to Brunei in search of his fortune.

According to the Muruts in Ulu Lawas, Semaun was said to be a seer and a very strong man. One rainy day when he was taking shelter under an overhang by a hill in Long Bawan, he stood up forgetting that he was under an overhang. An existing hole where he stood up — complete with the shape of his ears — can still be seen today. In another place his footprint can be seen when he jumped from one hill to another.

It was said that he went away to Padian (Brunei) and was never heard of again.

However, the Brunei legends stated that Awang Semaun was the brother of Pateh Berbai and is of Brunei origin.

According to local Temburong folklore, Awang Semaun left behind a giant vase used for keeping water. The local people said that the giant vase can sometimes appear and a number of locals have claimed to have seen that magic vase.

One local head village who worked in the area in the 1920s said that he saw the vase at least 10 times. He described the vase as having an opening of about two feet in diameter, its length up to 30 feet and a broad middle of about 20 feet in diametre. The vase will be found half submerged in the river. The British Resident who heard the stories tried to search for the vase in vain. The elderly folks said that a magic vase like that will not be found by those who went searching for it.

It was said that Awang Semaun converted to Islam in Johor. During the reign of Awang Alak Betatar, he instructed Awang Semaun to go to Johor in search of a Johor Princess who became Awang Alak Betatar’s consort. The Johor Princess had a bird named pinggai (burong pinggai). When the Princess was taken to Brunei, the bird came to Brunei to search for her. It came together with a ship which sank when it arrived in Brunei. The sailors were said to be assisted by the Kedayans who lived in Berakas. From the Kedayans, the sailors heard that the bird had flown to a place which eventually became Kampong Burong Pinggai.

From that village, the emissary from Johor discovered that the Princess had married the Brunei Sultan. However, the Princess, together with her searchers from Johor, managed to persuade Awang Alak Betatar to return back to Johor for the Johor marriage ceremony there.

In Johor, Awang Alak Betatar converted to Islam and took the name Sultan Muhammad, Pateh Berbai became Pengiran Bendahara Seri Maharaja Permaisuara and Awang Semaun became Pengiran Temenggong.

On their return back to Brunei, the Johor Princess’ followers stayed in Kampong Burong Pingai.

Some also said that the Johor Sultan “persuaded by her happiness and the fame and glory of Brunei” — as described by Saunders in his History of Brunei — journeyed to Brunei and formally installed Alak Betatar as Sultan and his brothers, including Awang Semaun in the offices of state which became traditional to Brunei and presented the new Sultan with the royal regalia.

We only know Awang Semaun through legends. We do not even know of his descendants. We will never know the truth about him.

But the name Awang Semaun lives on as one of Brunei’s great warriors.

The writer runs a website on Brunei at bruneiresources.com.

The Brunei Times

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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA COSMIC BLOGS & LINKS:
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MASTERS’ SITES:
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http://www.tsl.org, http://www.gandhiserve.org,
http://www.maharishi.org, http://www.rssb.org, http://www.fisu.org, http://www.saibaba.org, http://trishulabearer.com,
http://www.salrachele.com, http://www.yogananda.srf.org,
http://www.sriaurobindosociety.org

FOLKLORE TO IMPROVE LITERACY: ORAL TRADITION IN ASEAN

May 24, 2012

FOLKLORE TO IMPROVE LITERACY: ORAL TRADITION IN ASEAN
Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Ra

Visual and oral traditions are very strong among the peoples of ASEAN region. In our current analytic models, Southeast Asians are strongly right-brained as learners.
The right-brained facet of ASEAN peoples is largely a legacy of the Lemuro-Atlantean race (part of 4th ‘root race’). As per explications from Divine wisdom or Theos Sophia, the current Southeast Asians, with Malayan and IndoMongolian ethnicies as the largest, were among the last sub-races to evolve in the Atlantean racial phenotypes. The Mahatmas termed them as Lemuro-Atlantean, as they were bred from the surviving Lemurians that appeared prior to Atlantis’ heyday.
The use of folklore as potent tools for learning is practically accepted in the entire ASEAN region. Below is an example of a human development effort in Malaysia in substantiation of the folklore as learning tool.
[Philippines, 16 June 2011]
Source: http://www.unicef.org/malaysia/media_7099.html
Folklore inspiration to improve Malaysian Orang Asli children’s literacy
By Indra Nadchatram
KUALA LUMPUR, 25 July 2007 – Malaysia’s Orang Asli children will soon get to improve their literacy skills as a result of a specially tailored education program which will incorporate Orang Asli folklores and legends into teaching and learning aids.
Organised by the Ministry of Education and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the remedial program will introduce story-telling techniques in the classroom together with story books designed to capture the imagination of close to 6,000 Orang Asli children, with the aim of encouraging reading habits and improving writing skills.
While the country has achieved impressive results in education with a net enrolment rate of 96% in primary school for Malaysian children, most children from the Orang Asli community however are found lagging behind. Orang Asli children together with children from Sabah and Sarawak’s indigenous groups make up for a sizeable proportion of Malaysia’s remaining 4% children who fair poorly in both primary school enrolment rates and achievements.
Trapped in poverty
Due to poor education performances, Malaysia’s Orang Asli remain one of the poorest in the country. A household income survey carried out less than ten years ago found as many as 51% of the population living below the poverty level.
Teacher Santey anak Dugu (24) who hails from Malaysia’s Mah Meri ethnic group in Selangor’s Carey Island blames the lackadaisical attitude of Orang Asli parents towards education for low school enrolment, absenteeism and drop out rates.
“Orang Asli parents simply don’t realise the value of an education. When girls reach 10 or 11 year old, they are often asked to stay at home to look after their younger siblings and do household chores, while boys will be taken out to sea to fish,” says Santey. “It is a huge loss to our community because without an education, we will always remain trapped in poverty”.
Collecting folk stories
Santey together with 19 Orang Asli teachers representing 5 ethnic groups – Jakun, Mah Meri, Semai, Semalai and Temuan from the states of Pahang, Johor, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka came together recently for a four day workshop to share Orang Asli folklores and legends with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF.
Like many other Orang Asli teachers who participated in the Workshop, Santey relied heavily on the knowledge of her village elders for Mah Meri folklore. She is particularly glad for the program as it means the culture and beliefs of her community will be kept alive for the younger generation through the story books.
“I am excited about the value the Ministry of Education and UNICEF is placing on our cultural heritage. It gives me pride to be able to share stories from my own community for others to learn from,” continues Santey.
Santey believes the folk stories, each with its own important life lesson, will be a powerful incentive to encourage both parents and children to get involved in learning. At the same time, the initiative will help the others learn about the traditions and beliefs of the different Orang Asli ethnic groups in Malaysia.
Children’s love for stories
A total of 13 stories were collected during the workshop to develop story telling materials and text books for use by Year Two and Year Three Orang Asli students in the country. In addition, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF will train Orang Asli teachers from 93 schools in techniques and practices of storytelling which will include the use of facial expressions, body gestures and exaggerated character voices.
According to the Ministry of Education’s Assistant Director, Puan Norhayati Mokhtar, the program design takes into consideration children’s love for stories.
“Stories are most meaningful and best able to promote literacy when they speak to a student’s world. Using folklores can help children develop pride in their ethnic identity, provide positive role models, develop knowledge about cultural history, and build self-esteem,” explains Puan Norhayati.
This recent initiative builds on the Ministry of Education and UNICEF’s 1997 Special Remedial Education Program for Orang Asli children.
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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA COSMIC BLOGS & LINKS:
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http://www.kriyayoga.com, http://www.lightascension.com,
http://www.tsl.org, http://www.gandhiserve.org,
http://www.maharishi.org, http://www.rssb.org, http://www.fisu.org, http://www.saibaba.org, http://trishulabearer.com,
http://www.salrachele.com, http://www.yogananda.srf.org,
http://www.sriaurobindosociety.org

VALUES EDUCATION VIA FOLKLORE: BRUNEI SHOWCASE

May 21, 2012

VALUES EDUCATION VIA FOLKLORE: BRUNEI SHOWCASE

Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Guru Ra

Values education is of fundamental import in awareness-raising and human formation anchorage. It is important too that values are made to work for those imbued with it, for the powerlessness to assert values make people less human.

There are many entry points to values education, which renders values formation an open field for the exercise of creative imagination and ingenuity. One of these entry points is folklore. Among the showcases for the region is that of Brunei, which I will echo in this note.

As argued by me in previous writings, folklore is a depository of ancient wisdom in Southeast Asia. I would hasten to add the Polynesians as manifesting also such a deep embeddedness of ancient or divine wisdom in their folklore. Values are part of the practical domains for divine wisdom, as it is in values where virtues (dharma) are made to work in demonstrative ways.

Below is a news briefer of the Brunei efforts.

[Philippines, 16 June 2011]
Source: http://bruneitimes.com.bn/news-national/2011/01/28/promoting-values-through-folktales
Promoting values through folktales
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Friday, January 28, 2011
ANTHOLOGIES of local folk tales should be published to promote Brunei stories as such books are found to be lacking in many Asian countries, with the exception of Japan, said an expert.

Dr Chu Keong Lee, a lecturer from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore made this suggestion when he presented his working paper “Promoting values using folk tales from Brunei” during the last day of the Brunei Information Resource Collection Symposium at Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

Local folklore are well worth promoting and libraries are the organisation most well-placed to promote them, said Dr Chu.

Additionally, governments can play a part in ensuring that local schools purchase a specific number of books for their students to encourage publishers to print local stories.

“Stories play an important role in the transmission of culture in a society, in effective organisational communication and learning, in knowledge sharing and in helping to understand a person’s illness experience,” said Dr Chu.

His paper analysed four local folk tales published in The Singing Top: Tales from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei by Margaret Read MacDonald in 2008.

The four folk tales were The Dollarbid and the Short-tailed Monkey, The King of the Mosquitoes, Dayang Bongsu and the Crocodile and Si Perawal, the Greedy Fisherman.

It also discussed the ways in which libraries can leverage on indigenous stories in promoting the values within the tales locally and internationally.

The stories were first read as a whole to obtain a gist of the story, after that, each story was read carefully to find out what it was about and what value was being referred to.

The values identified from The Dollarbid and the Short-tailed Monkey were the importance of paying heed to good advice and the consequences of ignoring it, bravery, compassion and the perseverance of nature.

The King of the Mosquitoes emphasised the consequences of greed, bravery, not judging a book by its cover and the fruits of kindness.

In the paper, Dr Chu suggested that librarians should train tertiary students to be engaging and sensitive storytellers when promoting folk tales and their values, and then the students can be sent to primary and secondary schools to tell the stories to other students.

This, he said, was a method successfully employed by the Mahasarakham University Storytelling Project in Thailand.

“Senior citizens should be mobilised as their real-life experiences contain many valuable lessons that can be used as examples that illustrates the manifestations of these values.

“Senior citizens are probably the best people to convey these values to the young because of the Asian values of respect for elders,” he said.

The two-day symposium which concluded yesterday was attended by librarians, researchers, teachers, archivists, information specialists as well as government officers.

The symposium was aimed at sharing best practices and advancements in the management and dissemination of local information collection, while highlighting efforts to enhance collections and resources for the benefit of the teaching and learning community. — Zareena Amiruddin

The Brunei Times

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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA COSMIC BLOGS & LINKS:
http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com, http://kathapantas.blogdrive.com, http://talangguro.blogfree.com, http://tribes.tribe.com, http://lovingenergies.spruz.com, http://www.newciv.org, http://thatsthewayoflight.socialparadox.com, http://lightworkers.org, http://www.spiritualpassions.com, http://www.articlesforfree.net
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http://www.kriyayoga.com, http://www.lightascension.com,
http://www.tsl.org, http://www.gandhiserve.org,
http://www.maharishi.org, http://www.rssb.org, http://www.fisu.org, http://www.saibaba.org, http://trishulabearer.com,
http://www.salrachele.com, http://www.yogananda.srf.org,
http://www.sriaurobindosociety.org

POTATO BATTERY

May 17, 2012

POTATO BATTERY

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good news meets you rural folks as well as field workers, as research & development discovered the positive usable energy stored in potato that can be used for micro-instruments.

The cooking pot surely promises lots for those living in hinterlands, as boiled potato was shown to exhibit positive energy capacities. That is, just to stress, when potato is boiled.

Potato is eventually available everywhere, which explains why it was chosen among diverse agri products for the research & development project. From rural to urban markets, potatoes can be found. They comprise the 4th most abundant agri products.

Below is the exciting news about the a battery of the future.

[Philippines, 20 April 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/news/potato-battery-could-help-meet-rural-energy-needs.html
Potato battery could help meet rural energy needs
James Dacey
25 June 2010 | EN
The holy grail of renewable energy research may lie in the cooking pot, according to scientists.
The search for a cheap source of electricity for remote, off-grid communities, has led to batteries that work on freshly boiled potatoes.
One slice of potato can generate 20 hours of light, and several slices could provide enough energy to power simple medical equipment and even a low-power computer, said a research team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
“The technology is ready to go,” co-researcher Haim Rabinowitch told SciDev.Net. “It should take an interested body only a short while, and very little investment, to make this available to communities in need.”
The team, which described its work in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy earlier this month (7 June), said its work hinges on a recent discovery that the electrical flow from potatoes — long known to be natural electrolytes — can be enhanced tenfold when their cell membranes are deliberately ruptured by boiling.
To demonstrate, the researchers created a series of batteries out of slices of boiled Desiree potatoes about the size of a standard mobile phone, though they say the type and size of potato slice do not determine its power.
The device had the same basic components as conventional batteries, consisting of two electrodes separated by an electrolyte (the potato). Each battery powered a small light for 20 hours, after which a new slice could be inserted.
Potato batteries are estimated to generate energy at a cost of approximately US$9 per kilowatt hour (kW/h), which compares favourably with the best performing 1.5 volt (AA) alkaline cells — or D cells — which generate energy at US$50/kWh.
Banana and strawberry batteries could also be used, said Rabinowitch, but their softer tissues would weaken the structure of the battery and the sugars could attract insects.
“Potatoes were chosen because of their availability all over including the tropics and sub-tropics,” he said. They are the world’s fourth most abundant food crop.”
Teo Sanchez, energy technology and policy advisor at Practical Action, a charity which promotes technology for development, said: “With half the world’s population having no access to modern energy, this research is a valuable contribution to one of the biggest challenges in the world”.
But he is concerned about the limited amount of power that individual batteries can generate and the possible implications of diverting a food crop into energy production.
Link to abstract in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
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Comments (9)
Dr.A.Jagadeesh ( Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives | India )
28 June 2010
Any energy generation must be consistent,economic and available in plenty. Potatos are primarily for food. There are several ways of generating electricity. For a school project POTATO ELECTRICITY is OK but not for commercial exploitation. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
Boris Rubinsky ( University of California at Berkeley | United States of America )
6 July 2010
The potato serves as a solid state salt bridge. The advantage is in the convenience of a solid component with a naturally generated composition. The quantity of potatoes needed for the salt bridge function is negligible relative to food consumption. The wearable material is the Zn. In fact with proper studies it may turn out that the migration of Zn ions into the potato may provide nutritional benefits to the potato slice used in the battery. Therefore no food is wasted. Furthermore, as mentioned in the paper, while the potato may be optimal because it is widely available, every tuber or solid plant material could be used as a solid state bridge. Nevertheless, reducing the internal impedance of the salt bridge through actions such as boiling is crucial to increasing efficiency.
Agnes Becker ( Institute for Global Health, Imperial College London, UK | United Kingdom )
6 July 2010
Definitely need something more sustainable. Take a look at e.quinox (http://www.e.quinox.org/), a non-profit, humanitarian project that hopes to bring cost-effective renewable energy to developing countries. They have already set up energy kiosks in rural Rwanda in which a local staff member uses solar energy to recharge portable battery packs that people can take home and use for electricity.
musoke christopher ( MUST | Uganda )
19 August 2010
Potato electricity is a good idea in regions where potatoes are grown in plenty. Regions like western Uganda where potatoes rot due to the inability to transport them to urban areas in time for sale, the idea can work perfectly well. If the people are sensitized, excess food crop can be converted in electricity.
Arthur Makara ( Uganda )
13 January 2011
This is a marvellous invention, it should not merely be dismissed on the pretex of encroachment on food. It is s significant scientific find and can be modified or improved upon to a commercial value level using substitute sources of appropriate materials to avail energy rural communities. It should be encouraged!

Arthur Makara, Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development, Kampala, Uganda
ironjustice ( Canada )
15 January 2011
Quote: Regions like western Uganda where potatoes rot due to the inability to transport them to urban areas in time for sale

Answer: “A solar crop dryer developed by a UNSW photovoltaic and solar energy engineering student has the potential to provide a living for thousands of people”

“It’s particularly great for women because they are the ones that sell foods through the local markets.”
http://www.unsw.edu.au/news/pad/articles/2011/jan/solar_dryer.html
SteveK ( United States of America )
3 April 2011
There is a huge amount of cattail rhizome going to waste in Lake Chad. I doubt that this is the best way to use it, but it beats wasting it.
louandel ( Jacob Eco Energy Ltd | United Kingdom )
3 May 2011
I find it extraordinary that people should find this obvious move forward in renewable resources not only innovative and creative but also potentially effective to global community if it is taken seriously. All renewable resources were considered marginal and off-beat when they first came to being. Now they are part of our everyday lives. Give this the same respect.
elecsolar ( offgrid energy alternative technologies | Kenya )
29 March 2012
This is brilliant idea, so glad that soon the rural people will have clean cheap electricity thanks to LED discovery. i have also been working on a charcoal battery which have impressed me very much since am able to make none spill-able charcoal battery for portable use it lasts for many days. Women and children can make it when they need it and there is no need to switch it off after use .Thanks to these technologies
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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA SOCIAL BLOGS & LINKS:
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CRITICAL STATE OF PLANET

May 12, 2012

CRITICAL STATE OF PLANET

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Social scientists over the last decade came up with researches that show an alarming increase of patters pointing to a critical state of the planet. Man’s intrusive intervention in many spheres of life has scaled up, sufficient to cause a tipping point towards even greater uncertainties.

The interconnectedness of politics, economics, culture, and institutions of private sphere has entered a seemingly new phase of even greater couplings. Thus, the very wellbeing of human civilization is at risk of catastrophic results of interventions that tip off to the uncontrollable.

Today, there has been a greater need for scientists across disciplines to come together and look at the problems in multi-faceted ways, added to anticipating models of emerging realities that project the different dimensions concerned.

Below is a very interesting sum up of the views of scientists on the state of the planet.

[Philippines, 19 April 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/planet-under-pressure-2012-2/news/planet-is-in-critical-state-warns-science-declaration.html
Planet is in critical state, warns science declaration
Aisling Irwin
30 March 2012 | EN | ES
[LONDON] Earth has only one decade to pull itself back from various environmental ‘tipping points’ — points at which the damage becomes irreversible, scientists have said.
If it fails to do so, it is likely to witness a series of breakdowns in the systems that sustain people, such as oceans and soil, according to a major meeting on safeguarding the planet’s future, the Planet Under Pressure conference (26–29 March).
“Research now demonstrates that the continued functioning of the Earth system as it has supported the wellbeing of human civilization in recent centuries is at risk,” said some of the world’s leading documenters of global environmental change in the first ‘State of the Planet’ declaration.
They also admitted that scientists could no longer continue with ‘business as usual’.
This article is part of our Planet Under Pressure 2012 coverage — which takes place 26–29 March 2012. To read insights from our conference team please visit our blog.
“We have been far better at documenting the problem and understanding the processes than engaging with solutions,” said Mark Stafford Smith, science director of the Climate Adaptation Flagship at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia’s national science agency.
Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute, in Sweden, said it was “absolutely shocking” that scientists had not answered questions such as “how much biodiversity [do] we need in order to sustain landscapes for our economy?”.
He told a press conference: “I and many scientists are still profoundly frustrated that we don’t know whether we are heading for a two degree or six degree temperature rise — that’s not satisfactory for any decision makers”.
The declaration says that three changes over the last decade make scientists’ warnings qualitatively different from before.
First, a decade of research is leading to the consensus that we inhabit a new epoch, the Anthropocene, in which humans are dominating planetary-scale processes.
Second, science has revealed that many planetary processes are interconnected, as are, increasingly, society and the economy. This interconnectedness can confer stability and accelerate innovation, says the declaration, but it also leaves us vulnerable to abrupt and rapid crises.
Third, social research has demonstrated that our current ways of governing global environmental change are not dealing effectively with problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Many researchers conclude that local, national and regional partnerships are also needed as an insurance policy against failures of governance at a global level.
The declaration supports some of the ideas that are being promoted for inclusion in the Rio+20 agreement, to be finalised at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (20–22 June) in Brazil.
These include: the need to go beyond GDP (gross domestic product) by taking into account the value of natural capital when measuring progress; a framework for developing global sustainability goals; the creation of a UN Sustainable Development Council to integrate social, economic and environmental policy at the global level; and the production of regular global sustainability analyses.
One key outcome of the meeting was agreement on the need to push forward a scheme to redirect global change science, so-called ‘Future Earth’, which will pull together an wide variety of disciplines to answer questions that societies need to tackle.
Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, who attended the final day, praised the Future Earth initiative for being “unprecedented in its creativity”.
Liz Thomson, executive coordinator of the Rio+20 summit, told the meeting that many of the messages from the scientific community, which has been lobbying for some time over the Rio+20 agreement, had already made it into the ‘zero draft’ of Rio+20’s outcome document, and that the declaration would “increase the pressure on policymakers to get the message and act on it”.
The UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said in a recorded address that he was “taking forward” a recommendation from his high-level science panel that he appoint a science advisor.
Co-chair of the meeting, Lidia Brito, director of science policy and capacity building in natural sciences at UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), said: “We have a positive message: strong leadership from all sectors, and harnessing [our] increased connectivity, offer hope that the risk of long-term environmental crises can be minimised”.
But some delegates said that while the conference linked natural and social scientists, it was less successful in luring policymakers and business representatives.
Nigel Cameron, president of the US-based Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies, told the meeting that he did not see venture capitalists or heads of research and development from industry “around the table … and the reason for that is that the people around the table don’t want them [there]”.
And others said that scientists might be overestimating the influence they could have. Carlos Nobre, of Brazil’s ministry of science, technology and innovation, talked of “the stark reality of anti-science political power … no matter how good we become as communicators we have to recognize it is very effective at blocking action”.
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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA SOCIAL BLOGS & LINKS:
http://erleargonza.blogspot.com, https://unladtau.wordpress.com, http://www.facebook.com, http://www.newciv.org, http://sta.rtup.biz, http://magicalsecretgarden.socialparadox.com, http://en.netlog.com/erlefrayne, http://talangguro.blogfree.net, http://www.blogster.com/erleargonza, http://efdargon.multiply.com,
http://internationalpeaceandconflict.org, http://erleargonza.seekopia.com, http://lovingenergies.spruz.com, http://www.articlesforfree.net, http://www.facebook.com

DEVELOPMENT SITES:
http://www.adb.org, http://www.asean.org, http://www.bis.org, http://www.devex.com, http://www.eldis.org, http://www.fao.org, http://www.icc-cpi.int, http://www.imf.org, http://www.iom.int, http://www.scidev.net, http://www.un.org, http://www.undp.org, http://www.unescap.org, http://www.unesco.org, http://www.unhabitat.org, http://www.unhcr.org, http://www.unido.org, http://www.unis.unvienna.org, http://www.who.int, http://www.worldbank.org, http://www.wto.org

VISIONING AFRICAN FUTURE FARMS

May 12, 2012

VISIONING AFRICAN FUTURE FARMS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Africa’s agriculture research & development has come a long way since the ‘take-off’ decades of the post-colonial era. Slow and slowed further by internecine conflicts as well (political-military), conflicts that were bred by the polarity games of the Western oligarchy aimed at controlling Africans in the long term, science R&D as a whole sputtered across the decades.

The landscape has since changed, as political stability in the fractious countries have quite cemented. Funding for research from the emerging markets has salved the funds lack of enthused researchers. End-users have increased from local to global.

Just exactly what innovative ways can be launched across the decades for the whole continent that would, in the main, reverse the food production problems of Africans and ensure food security in the very long run?

An interesting interview of the African food security expert Denis Kyetere is shown below.

[Philippines, 18 April 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/features/q-a-denis-kyetere-on-innovative-technologies-for-africa-s-farmers–1.html
Q&A: Denis Kyetere on innovative technologies for Africa’s farmers
Busani Bafana
5 April 2012 | EN
Kyetere: ‘We must understand the specific challenges our farmers face, prioritize them, and apply science to seeking a solution’
Denis Kyetere, executive director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, outlines his vision for the continent’s farmers.
At the start of this year, Denis Kyetere, a prominent Ugandan geneticist and plant breeder, assumed his new post as executive director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a non-profit organisation that promotes partnerships to deliver appropriate agricultural technologies to smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Kyetere studied in Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States. His previous roles include director of research at the Coffee Research Institute, and board chair of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. Prior to his arrival at the AATF, he had served for five years as director-general of Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organisation.
As a scientist, his achievements include being a member of the research team that identified and mapped the maize streak virus gene 1, and the subsequent development of the virus-resistant maize variety Longe 1, which is now grown widely in Uganda.
SciDev.Net spoke to Kyetere about his vision for the AAFT and the foundation’s efforts in research and technology development for African farmers.
What are your priorities in taking the helm of the AATF?
My key priority will be supporting AATF’s mission — to ensure smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to the same affordable and productive agriculture technologies available to farmers in most parts of the world.
To do this I will focus on innovative partnerships and effective product stewardship. In addition, I want to expand our resource and technology base.
Would you say that current investment by governments and private sector in technology use in agriculture is adequate?
In Africa, it is generally not adequate, especially when one notes that most of the continent is still battling age-old problems of pests and diseases and facing new challenges such as the changing growing conditions caused by climate change.
However, it is important to note that African governments are aware of the need to increase investments in agriculture, as evidenced in the Maputo Declaration in 2003, where governments committed to allocating at least ten per cent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development.
We have also seen encouraging efforts by some countries such as Ghana and Malawi, which have made enormous progress by investing more in agriculture. As a continent, we have still not reached the desired investment levels — levels that will see Africa attain meaningful growth. As historical evidence from places like the United States and Asia shows, investing in agriculture leads to improvements in the broader economy.
Recently Malawi showed that, even with the few challenges that cropped up, indeed, increasing investments in our farmers pays dividends. We need to continue urging our governments to invest more since there is enormous evidence showing that it makes a difference in terms of boosting agricultural productivity and overall economic growth.
Are African farmers taking advantage of the available agricultural technologies to boost food productivity?
In Africa, there are different types of farmers and farming systems that influence technology use.
Large commercial farmers in countries such as South Africa have different needs to smallholders in a country such as Uganda, which makes it difficult to generalise. However, I believe I would not be off the mark to say that technology use is generally low, especially among smallholder, resource-challenged farmers. There are many factors that contribute to this, such as financial constraints, lack of credit, and lack of awareness of available technologies. But perhaps the most crippling aspect is related to market access.
Farmers are entrepreneurs and where opportunities and markets exist, I believe that farmers are entrepreneurs and where opportunities are available and markets exist, they will do what they can to benefit. Where markets are not readily accessible, farmers will see technology investments as a risk. But we also need to expand our extension services so that farmers are at least more aware and able to take advantage of valuable technologies that are appropriate for their farming systems.
The case of maize hybrid seeds is a good example of a beneficial technology that is making a difference in increasing yields but has yet to be widely used by farmers in Africa. Zimbabwe, for instance, was an early beneficiary of hybrid maize [developed through the Zimbabwe national maize breeding programme]. It contributed to doubling maize production between 1980 and 1986.
Which technologies have worked, and which have not, for smallholder farmers in Africa?
I would say technologies that have worked are those that have made a difference to the particular issue that farmers had to address in the first place. Technologies come in different forms, aiming at addressing different constraints and farmers’ selection will be based on their need at the time. A few examples come to mind.
In Kenya, maize yields started to increase following the adoption of hybrid maize varieties and the accompanying high fertilizer use in the 1980s such that by 1986, average national yields were over two tonnes per hectare. To date about 80 per cent of farmers have adopted hybrid maize in the country.
The New Rice for Africa (NERICA) rice varieties developed by the Africa Rice Center have gained popularity among rice farmers in a relatively short period of time. The NERICA varieties have good agronomic performance and are resistant to harsh growing conditions, and have short growth duration. These are traits that are very attractive to farmers. NERICA varieties have shown great potential and are already disseminated on an estimated more than 300,000 hectares.
The other technology that has worked is the fertilizer micro-dosing technique which has reintroduced fertilizer use in countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. In West Africa, some 25,000 smallholder farmers in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have learned the technique and experienced increases in sorghum and millet yields of 44 to 120 per cent, along with an increase in their family incomes of 50 to 130 per cent.
How can we best put scientific research on agricultural technologies to practical use in Africa?
First, we must understand the specific challenges our farmers face, prioritise them, and apply science to seeking a solution. Second, we need to ensure policymakers are our partners [and] can consider how certain policies and strategic investments in scientific research can lead to meaningful progress for our farmers and our countries.
Do you think Africa has prioritised the role of research and technology in developing its agriculture?
Yes, I believe it has as different countries recognise that scientific research has a role to play in contributing to overall development and have stated this in their planning documents and even at the continental level. What we may still need to see are more instances in which this stated commitment is put into action, so that research can benefit from country budgets and policy discussions.
Where do you see AATF in five years?
AATF is already making inroads in facilitating the development and delivery of innovative technologies that will make a difference to the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Africa. In five years time some of the projects that AATF is participating in such as striga control in maize will have been widely adopted by farmers and made a difference to their lives.
The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project, which is developing drought-tolerant maize varieties, and the cowpea improvement project that is working on insect-resistant varieties of the legume, will be at the deployment stage, with some initial varieties already in the hands of local seed companies and farmers. This will be a major milestone for the Foundation.
I also see AATF able to establish new partnerships that will enable it access and add more innovative technologies to its portfolio that will address already identified constraints facing smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition, we may also see AATF able to partner with more countries to increase access to appropriate technologies for resource-poor farmers.
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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA SOCIAL BLOGS & LINKS:
http://erleargonza.blogspot.com, https://unladtau.wordpress.com, http://www.facebook.com, http://www.newciv.org, http://sta.rtup.biz, http://magicalsecretgarden.socialparadox.com, http://en.netlog.com/erlefrayne, http://talangguro.blogfree.net, http://www.blogster.com/erleargonza, http://efdargon.multiply.com,
http://internationalpeaceandconflict.org, http://erleargonza.seekopia.com, http://lovingenergies.spruz.com, http://www.articlesforfree.net, http://www.facebook.com

DEVELOPMENT SITES:
http://www.adb.org, http://www.asean.org, http://www.bis.org, http://www.devex.com, http://www.eldis.org, http://www.fao.org, http://www.icc-cpi.int, http://www.imf.org, http://www.iom.int, http://www.scidev.net, http://www.un.org, http://www.undp.org, http://www.unescap.org, http://www.unesco.org, http://www.unhabitat.org, http://www.unhcr.org, http://www.unido.org, http://www.unis.unvienna.org, http://www.who.int, http://www.worldbank.org, http://www.wto.org

SOLIDARITY TO ALL WORKINGMEN & WOMEN!

May 1, 2012

SOLIDARITY TO ALL WORKINGMEN & WOMEN!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza
01 May 21st Century

This social analyst, development worker and self-development guru from Manila hereby extends a most heartfelt solidarity and synergy with the working men & women of our beloved planet Earth!

If there is a core life element that must be celebrated today, the 1st of May, it is the power of labor to build worlds and change the world. That human labor is powerful is ample proof of the great potency of craftsmanship, the same craftsmanship coming straight from the Godhead. It is a proof that we humans are co-creators with the Almighty Providence, and no force must abridge such a truth by shackling labor to exploitative and dehumanizing encumbrances.

We were created in the image of the Almighty Providence, created to serve as free will beings who will co-create worlds with the Prime Creator. Sadly, the power to co-create has been badly misused, which has seen our world, during the epoch of the Money Economy, degenerate into a prison camp controlled by an oligarchic class that shows no compunction in seeing millions die of misery and hunger for the gain-sake of advancing the insatiable greed of the same oligarchs and their technocratic-military-political subalterns.

A class of evil oligarchs that continues to abridge our powers to co-create and earn our rightful keep must be met with penalties in due time as an operation of cosmic laws. They shall reap what they cultivated, and that time draws so near. Yes, fellows, deliverance is near, and the time for fear and intimidation by the ruling elites will end soon.

Meantime, if we bear witness today to Spartacist movements rising in our midst, such as the mass strike movement in Europe, let it be so that the tools of deliverance are rightly the heritage of all free men and women. Let the gains of Spartacism roll on high, as a gigantic eagle set out to free those who were enslaved by the evil overlords.

Happy Labor Day! Mabuhay!

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“GO GREEN NOT NUKES” FOLLOW PH MODEL!

April 24, 2012

“GO GREEN NOT NUKES” FOLLOW PH MODEL!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

That line comes from a retired PH journalist, Crispin Maslog, who urged Asian countries to go green rather than to force nuke energy for power generation. From the very own words of the noblesse environmentalist, Asian countries—the top models of emerging markets—should follow the ‘Philippine way’ of power generation via the RE or renewable energy sources plus minimal fossil fuel but without the nuke option.

I couldn’t find reason to disagree with Herr Environmentalist, even as renewable energy sources in PH, which include hydro power and geothermal, dominate the power generation sector. Fossil fuels such as diesel and coal are down to a manageable level of less than 30% of total sources, though it is possible that coal-fired plants could still go up a bit.

What is clear is that RE has a clear dominance as it eats up over nearly 70% of power generation, and it is still moving up the scale as it replaces those occupied by diesel production plants that are getting mothballed by the year. To back this up, the policy environment for RE has been clearly built up in granite fashion across two (2) decades of backbreaking debates and legislation, thus rendering PH a global model for RE policy.

However, I would want to make exception to nuclear power fusion technology which belongs squarely to RE. China is now perfecting a fusion plant which will be out in commercial quantities by 2016 at the earliest, and I’m all for this energy source. This can be combined with the other RE sources in PH for instance, thus assuring energy needs all the year round for many decades straight.

[Philippines, 16 April 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/climate-change-and-energy/energy-policy/opinions/asia-pacific-analysis-go-green-not-nuclear-1.html
Asia-Pacific Analysis: Go green not nuclear
Crispin Maslog
29 March 2012 | EN
Crispin Maslog says the region should follow the Philippines’ lead and focus on renewable, not nuclear power.
A year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, questions remain over the role of nuclear power in the developing world, including South-East Asia and the Pacific.
Nuclear power had a renaissance, driven by rapidly growing energy demands, and fading memories of high-profile disasters at Three Mile Island in the United States and Chernobyl, Ukraine.
But Fukushima triggered a re-think about the safety of nuclear power plants. South-East Asian countries, earlier inclined towards nuclear power (especially Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand), are now at the crossroads, quietly revisiting the arguments for and against nuclear plants.
Planning for power
The Philippines was the first country to build a nuclear reactor in South-East Asia — the Bataan Nuclear Plant, completed in 1985. But the US$2.3-billion Westinghouse light water reactor, which has the potential to generate 621 megawatts of power, was never used. Work on the facility stopped after a change of administration because of corruption and safety issues.
Before Fukushima, bills were introduced in the Philippine congress seeking either to restart the reactor, or to close the issue by allowing either conversion or permanent closure. These are now in limbo.
Vietnam seems sure, and has decided to push ahead with its plan for 14 nuclear plants by 2030. Vietnam has an ambitious nuclear energy plan to power 10 per cent of its electricity grid with nuclear energy within 20 years. Its first nuclear plant, Ninh Thuan, is to be built with support from a state-owned Russian energy company and completed by 2020.
But whether nuclear is the solution still needs answering for the rest of the region. Singapore is going ahead with a pre-feasibility study and Indonesia is discreetly proceeding with feasibility studies. Thailand and Malaysia have abandoned their nuclear plans.
Nuclear drawbacks
Economic growth, industrialisation, the escalating price of oil, safer reactor design, and global warming are compelling countries to seek alternatives to fossil fuels.
Opponents of nuclear technology underscore the disadvantages: the high cost of building, running and maintaining nuclear power plants; problems with disposing of radioactive wastes; and difficulties with ensuring environmental and human safety. And although the fuel costs of nuclear plants have been lower than fossil-fuel plants, the construction cost is three times higher.
The risk of accidents is a big concern — their social and economic costs can be huge and long-lasting. For example, Belarus has estimated its economic losses over 30 years due to the Chernobyl disaster at US$235 billion. And 5–7 per cent of government spending in Ukraine still goes to Chernobyl-related benefit programmes.
More recently, Japan has estimated that the Fukushima nuclear accident could cost US$250 billion, including compensation for the 180,000 people moved from the area.
Disposing of radioactive waste remains dangerous and decommissioning the plant when it has reached the end of its useful life is also costly. Plans for storing the very long-lived radioactive wastes in deep geological repositories remain just that — plans. So far no such repositories have been constructed in the region.
And most developing South-East Asian countries still do not have enough expertise to deal with nuclear power safely.
Go for green energy
Until nuclear power plants become cheaper and safer, South-East Asia and the Pacific should choose to support renewable sources of energy.
Renewable sources including water, wind, tidal and solar already provide 20 per cent of global electricity (if hydropower is included), and could supply 77 per cent by 2050.
At the 6th Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) held in Manila in June 2011, Greenpeace suggested that renewable energy plants, particularly wind and solar power, grew in capacity faster than any other power plant technology since the 1990s. [1]
It cited the Philippines as an example for the region. The country aims to make itself the leading geothermal energy producer in the world, to double hydropower capacity and expand the contributions of biomass, solar, and ocean energy.
It is already a leader in the region in harnessing geothermal and hydroelectric energy. In February 2010,The Philippine Department of Energy signed 68 mini-hydroelectric, 5 geothermal, and 17 wind energy contracts amounting to US$1 billion. These projects will generate an estimated capacity of 2,007.5 megawatts.
And one of the largest business conglomerates in the Philippines, Ayala Corp., has a long-standing interest in the renewable energy sector.
How did The Philippines get here? The government got the ball rolling with its Renewable Energy Act in 2008. Funding agencies — like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank — followed with huge energy loans. And private business then started coming in. This may well be a model for other South-East Asian countries to follow.
Crispin Maslog is a Manila-based consultant for the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication. A former journalist, professor and environmental activist, he worked for the Press Foundation of Asia and the International Rice Research Institute.
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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA SOCIAL BLOGS & LINKS:
http://erleargonza.blogspot.com, https://unladtau.wordpress.com, http://www.facebook.com, http://www.newciv.org, http://sta.rtup.biz, http://magicalsecretgarden.socialparadox.com, http://en.netlog.com/erlefrayne, http://talangguro.blogfree.net, http://www.blogster.com/erleargonza, http://efdargon.multiply.com,
http://internationalpeaceandconflict.org, http://erleargonza.seekopia.com, http://lovingenergies.spruz.com, http://www.articlesforfree.net, http://www.facebook.com

DEVELOPMENT SITES:
http://www.adb.org, http://www.asean.org, http://www.bis.org, http://www.devex.com, http://www.eldis.org, http://www.fao.org, http://www.icc-cpi.int, http://www.imf.org, http://www.iom.int, http://www.scidev.net, http://www.un.org, http://www.undp.org, http://www.unescap.org, http://www.unesco.org, http://www.unhabitat.org, http://www.unhcr.org, http://www.unido.org, http://www.unis.unvienna.org, http://www.who.int, http://www.worldbank.org, http://www.wto.org

GETTING PHARMACEUTICALS TO WORLD’S POOR VIA NEW FUNDING MODELS

April 21, 2012

GETTING PHARMACEUTICALS TO WORLD’S POOR VIA NEW FUNDING MODELS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Getting pharmaceuticals to the world’s poor is verily a tough task to do. Certain emerging markets such as those of Asia’s have mature and well developed pharmaceutical industries, yet too many poor folks can’t afford to pay for their own medical drug needs.

One opinion says new funding models may need be crafted to get such drugs to the world’s poor. This opinion is highly debatable, as the case has been shown in PH, India, and China that responded to the problem of access to drugs via generics drugs policy and the institutionalization of traditional & alternative medicine.

At any rate, let those who espouse the idea of new funding models proceed with the enactment of their concept. “New funding model” could at best be attractive to Big Business owners who operate Big Foundations that would fund those access challenges, and there we go again recycling the same old problem of oligarchism as barrier to people’s access to medicines.

[Philippines, 14 April 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/health/access-to-medicine/opinions/use-new-funding-models-to-get-drugs-to-world-s-poor-.html
Use new funding models to get drugs to world’s poor
Daniele Dionisio
5 April 2012 | EN
Trade deals are threatening generic drugs — we need new ways to incentivise affordable drug development, says health expert Daniele Dionisio.
Just under three billion people live on less than US$2 per day, in resource-limited countries where key medicines protected by patents are unaffordable.
Free-trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and governments adopting intellectual property (IP) policies that favour the brand pharmaceutical sector are also threatening the trade of legitimate generic medicines.
In addition, India’s obligations to the World Trade Organization (WTO) prevent local companies from making generics for medicines introduced since 2005. Despite the country’s recent decision forcing a drug manufacturer to license a generic cancer drug[1], these developments threaten the supply of generic medicines from India that serve as a lifeline to resource-limited countries.
To ensure long-term access to medicines, the WHO has called for operational models to finance research and development (R&D) for diseases of the poor. [2] But any one model will not be enough to ensure the availability of life-saving drugs.
Pooling resources
The WHO’s models include direct grants, equitable licensing, pooled funds, prizes and patent pools, collectively called ‘best fitting’ models. They also include ‘less well fitting’ models such as priority review vouchers and a health impact fund.
With direct grants, for example, small- and medium-sized companies in developing countries are given funds to develop a product to the stage where they can more easily find other funders to take it to later stages of development.
Equitable licensing aims to ensure that medicines arising from public funding are licensed to make them affordable to the poor. Pooled funds aim to provide, on a long-term basis, funding to research organisations from sources including taxes or bonds. And prizes are rewards for developing a product or for completing a step in the R&D process.
As part of these recommendations, the WHO strongly insists that patent pools are established, where a number of patents by differ¬ent owners are brought together and made available on a nonexclusive basis to generic companies.
The Medicines Patent Pool (or the Pool), is a major commitment to implementing this idea. Founded and financed by UNITAID and backed by the WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund, and the Group of 8, the Pool is focusing on cutting-edge antiretrovirals (ARVs) for HIV.
The Pool seeks to negotiate with patent holders for voluntary licences (VLs) on their ARV patents against the payment of royalties. Expected benefits include increased competition and affordable prices for generic ARVs licensed through the Pool. [3]
A need for universal buy-in
The Pool has signed two VLs with Gilead Sciences and the US National Institutes of Health, and is in talks with Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, Sequoia Pharmaceuticals and ViiV Healthcare (a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer). Meanwhile, generic companies have begun to take licences from it.
However, Merck and Abbott are not currently in negotiation with the Pool. And in December 2011 Johnson & Johnson said it would not license patents of its breakthrough ARVs for use through the Pool.
This is concerning because the participation of these companies in the Pool is necessary for generic companies to deliver appropriate ARVs formulations.
And it serves as a caution that, despite its promises and successes, the Pool is unlikely to be a self-sufficient solution — and this applies equally to all other models for financing drug R&D.
Towards a transaction tax
A combination of two or more models will be needed to ensure that the outputs of R&D, innovation and access are available without restrictions. To achieve that goal, all models should complement current IP regimes and include partnerships, open source and needs-driven rather than market-driven rules.
Product development partnerships (PDPs) meet these requirements. They provide a framework for cooperation between the public sector (governments, academic and research institutions) and the private sector (companies, nongovernmental organisations and philanthropic organisations).
PDPs already established include partnerships between the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and companies Sanofi Aventis and Farmanguinhos/Fiocruz — which have produced innovative antimalarial products.
Similarly, a partnership between DNDi and Merck aims to roll out medicines for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, and the TB Alliance has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson to develop new tuberculosis drugs.
PDPs enable both industry and governments to do what they could not alone. And their sustainability would be enhanced if governments financed them more effectively.
The foundation of all viable models is sustainable financing mechanisms, and we must find innovative funding sources.
A financial transaction tax (FTT), which aims to support development and health needs, is now under international debate, and has been endorsed by the EU Commission. A 0.05-per cent tax on all financial market transactions could raise €209 billion (US$273 billion) a year in the EU alone and would be sufficient to finance development priorities in the region and internationally. [4]
The FTT should be introduced, enforced and implemented worldwide. It would be instrumental, alongside the models proposed by the WHO, to promoting R&D to develop medicines for diseases of the poor.
Daniele Dionisio is head of the research project Geopolitics, Public Health and Access to Medicines (GESPAM); a member of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases; and an advisor for the Italian Society for Infectious and Tropical Diseases (SIMIT). He can be contacted at d.dionisio@tiscali.it
References
[1] Bayer loses drug ruling in India (The Wall Street Journal, 2012)

[2] Draft WHO HIV strategy 2011–2015 (WHO, 2011)
[3] WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS. The Progress report 2011: Global HIV/AIDS response (WHO, 2011)
[4] MEPs adopt report on EU-wide financial transaction tax (Parliament Magazine, 2011)
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LOWERING HIV RISK FOR SEX WORKERS, ANYONE?

April 17, 2012

LOWERING HIV RISK FOR SEX WORKERS, ANYONE?
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Is there any enthused soul out there who may have some bright ideas about strategies to lower HIV risk for sex workers?

A grim ripper of a research shows the very high levels of HIV risks on sex workers. This research was done across the continents, involving 100,000 female sex workers across 50 developing countries, cross-analyzing 102 previous studies for that matter. The results show a truly grim situation for the HIV/AIDS front, with the sex workers serving as a focused vector of the ailment.

Let’s all face the fact: AIDS/HIV will be with us for some time yet, so no matter what heroic efforts are being done to stave off the pandemic it will wreak havoc on all societies and populations for some time. Unless, of course, that the context will radically change into a global situation where HIV will die out naturally such as the Earth’s sustained immersion in the photonic belt of the galaxy.

Below is a discussion of the said cross-analytic studies.

[Philippines, 12 April 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/health/hiv-aids/news/study-notes-strategies-to-lower-hiv-risk-for-sex-workers-.html
Study notes strategies to lower HIV risk for sex workers
Helen Mendes
4 April 2012 | EN
Female sex workers in low- and middle-income countries are nearly 14 times more likely to become infected with HIV than other women in these countries, according to a literature review by US scientists.
The review was carried out by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal (15 March).
The authors analysed 102 previous studies representing almost 100,000 female sex workers in 50 developing countries. They found that in Asia, sex workers were 29 per cent more likely to be infected than other women in the region. In Africa and Latin America, sex workers were 12 times more likely to be infected than other women – and India, the female sex worker community was at a massive 50-fold higher risk of HIV infection than the rest of the country’s female population.
India, along with Kenya and Brazil have, however, made some inroads into reducing infection levels among sex workers.
“We believe that these examples represent countries adopting necessary approaches,” said Stefan Baral, the study’s lead author.
Brazil’s National STD/AIDS Programme works closely with sex workers to prevent new HIV infections. As well as running campaigns to promote prevention, Brazil offers free antiretroviral treatment.
“Because of their vulnerability, sex workers are a priority group, and we have projects specifically for them,” Juny Kraiczyk of the Brazilian Ministry of Health told SciDev.Net.
“We act to strengthen sex workers’ networks” and this involves “programmes of peer education and prevention in prostitution areas,” he said, adding that such strategies had also helped reduce the stigma associated with the disease that would otherwise discourage women from coming forward for testing and treatment.
This need to destigmatise HIV infection led to Brazil turning down a US$40-million grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2005 because it included a clause condemning prostitution.
“We work under the principle of not criminalising prostitution. We see these people as vulnerable, and not to be blamed for their increased risk. There are [other] factors, such as discrimination and poverty, which result in higher vulnerability for them,” explained Kraiczyk.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases study found that in India, the country’s Avahan and Sonagachi programmes have successfully tackled a range of structural challenges, through community empowerment, campaigns to address stigma, and the targeting of high-risk sexual practices with prevention messages.
“The disproportionate burden of HIV among sex workers … emphasises the need to increase coverage by increasing scale of prevention programmes and decreasing barriers to access,” the study stated.
India is making the Avahan programme, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a national initiative.
“Avahan has shared its approaches, tools, methods and strategies with the government, and many aspects have been incorporated into the national programme,” Shelley Thakral, communications officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in India, told SciDev.Net.
Link to abstract
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X-RAY BENEFITS ON PLANT MICRO-NUTRIENT ANALYSIS

April 14, 2012

X-RAY BENEFITS ON PLANT MICRO-NUTRIENT ANALYSIS
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good afternoon from Manila!

Here’s a good news concerning XRay benefits on plant micro-nutrient analysis coming from Africa. Researchers in Rwanda are very particular about the potential benefits of XRay applications, so this development adds more points towards brightening the image of Rwanda as its old ethnic violence and purges must be expunged with good news.

Not only can XRay determine to the minutest details the micro-nutrient composition of plants, eg. mineral content of leaves, beans, fruits, etc. XRay application, as it was found out, could induce growth of plants as a whole, leading the increase in the micro-nutrients available in them.

The gladdening news is shown below.

[Philippines, 07 April 2012]
Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/health/nutrition/news/x-ray-technology-harnessed-to-grow-more-nutritious-crops.html
X-ray technology harnessed to grow more nutritious crops
Aimable Twahirwa
5 April 2012 | EN | ES
[KIGALI] Agricultural researchers in Rwanda have adapted a technology widely used in the mining sector to analyse the mineral content of food crops such as beans and maize, with a view to developing more nutritious crops.
The team, from the Rwandan Agricultural Board (RAB), say the idea was inspired by a study published in the journal Plant and Soil earlier this year (21 January), which noted the use of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis to determine the mineral content of soil samples.
XRF analysis generates X-rays of different colours to indicate the presence, and concentration, of elements such as iron and zinc. It is quick to display results, and each sample costs just 15 US cents to analyse – compared to US$20 for other chemical analysis technologies.
In Rwanda, beans are regarded as a near-perfect food as they contain many important nutrients, and between 22 to 30 per cent of arable land across the country is currently used to grow them, according to the RAB.
The Rwandan team used XRF to analyse three varieties of bio-fortified beans – climbing, bush and snap beans. They analysed 15 samples in total, and found four were particularly rich in mineral nutrients such as iron and zinc, according to Augustine Musoni, a senior researcher at the RAB.
“This is a step forward in [reducing] malnutrition while improving the lives of smallholder farmers,” Musoni told SciDev.Net.
Iron deficiency in food crops can inhibit physical and mental development in children, and increase the risk of women dying in childbirth, Musoni added.
The Plant and Soil study was funded by HarvestPlus, which is part of the Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health programme of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
HarvestPlus has formed partnerships with research institutes in Bangladesh, Mexico and India to make further use of the technology in crops like rice and pearl millet. It has set up XRF facilities in these institutes and trained local scientists to use them..
The main purpose of the new technology according to Tiwirai Lister Katsvairo, the Rwanda country representative for HarvestPlus, is to deliver nutritious staple food crops to reduce “hidden hunger” — the lack of dietary vitamins and minerals, adding that more than half of Rwanda’s children under five, and a third of the female population, are anaemic.
Daphrose Gahakwa, deputy director-general of the RAB said that XRF technology would be a beneficial method of testing mineral content in seeds. The challenge in delivering this innovation, she said, was how to deliver those benefits to remote areas of the country.
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BIRDS’ FLU RETHOUGHT WITH SCIENTIFIC OPENNESS

April 12, 2012

BIRDS’ FLU RETHOUGHT WITH SCIENTIFIC OPENNESS
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Birds flu struck the world as a pandemic just a few years back, creating fright night panic in some key cities over incoming overseas visitors that are afflicted with the ailment. Indonesia is among those countries hit hard in terms of transmission of the birds flu, and so the Indonesian case could be examined to rethink the health problem at hand.

What makes the birds flu hazard truly alarming is that over 80% of those afflicted die of the disease. It now seems that, on hindsight, the lack of scientific openness had inflated the destructive reach and impact of the bird flu pandemic.

There is over-consciousness about intellectual property piracy of course, which accounts for the behavior of self-constraint among research scientists. How far can that wall of secrecy be loosened up to effect a cross-border clamp down of the bird flu virus?

Below is an interesting reportage about the subject.

[Philippines, 03 April 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/health/bird-flu/editorials/tackling-bird-flu-effectively-needs-scientific-openness-1.html
Tackling bird flu effectively needs scientific openness
David Dickson
2 March 2012
Efforts to limit publication of controversial bird flu research could end up doing more harm than good.
Last week, a 12-year-old boy in Indonesia died after becoming infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus. His death brought the global death toll to 347 since the disease was first reported among humans in 2005.
At first sight the figure does not look too alarming compared to the many millions that die from other infectious diseases. And although the virus is usually fatal — up to 80 per cent of those infected die from it — the overall incidence of human infection remains relatively low.
This is because most people only get infected through contact with infected poultry. But what if the virus could spread between humans?
This spectre has now been raised by two teams of scientists, working at a medical centre in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin in the United States, respectively. Each team genetically altered the virus into a form that can pass between ferrets through the air — implying that a similar strain could evolve (or be created) that could spread between humans.
The consequences could be so disastrous that last year, a US body set up in 2005 to look at the potential biosecurity risks of laboratory-created organisms recommended that papers on the work submitted to the world’s two leading scientific journals, Science and Nature, should not be published in full.
The argument of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) was that the information could be used by terrorist groups or individuals to produce a powerful biological weapon that could spark a deadly epidemic if released into the human population.
Risks of restriction
There is a strong logic to this argument. Withholding the technical details of the steps required to produce a deadly virus would certainly make it considerably more difficult for anyone to copy the process.
And some have advocated going even further to curtail access to such information with calls for a ban on all research that could lead to new, potentially lethal viruses. Their argument is that the threat such viruses would pose if they escaped from the laboratory is so great that nothing justifies the risk of even carrying out research for them.
But both arguments have flaws. Those seeking publication of the information in heavily edited form risk denying scientists access to data that could play an essential role in preparing defences against the virus, such as developing vaccines.
A complete ban on the research could have similar repercussions. Scientific understanding of the bird flu virus, how it spreads and how it mutates, is essential to minimise the chances of another flu pandemic. The flu virus that swept across the world in 1918 killed up to 20 per cent of those infected, causing an estimated 50 million deaths.
An alternative strategy
The scientific community has had intense discussions over what to do with the papers over the past few months.
Initially the NSABB suggested a solution could lie in publishing redacted (edited) versions of the papers with some of the key scientific and technical data omitted.
Both journals to which the research was submitted have been exploring how they might do this while making full versions of the papers available to scientists who have been vetted to ensure they would use the data responsibly.
But on close examination, this option has presented difficulties. For example, much of the technical data in one of the papers has already been presented at a scientific conference so attempts to prevent its further dissemination may be ineffective.
Another significant objection raised at a meeting organised by the WHO in Geneva two weeks ago (16 February) was the difficulty of reaching an international consensus on the criteria for vetting scientists who request the full data.
Concerns in perspective
Following the WHO meeting Nature said in an editorial that the benefits of open publication outweighed the risks identified so far, and that in principle “the papers should ultimately be published in full”. [1]
Similarly the editor of Science said in a recent interview with the BBC that “our default position is that we have to publish in complete form”. [2]
A final decision is awaiting further discussion at the WHO. But this position is brave, and correct.
There are substantial public health benefits in as many scientists as possible having access to the data if they are to understand potential changes to the virus.
These outweigh the advantages — likely to be short-lived — of restricting access to prevent the data from falling into the wrong hands. And at present, the biosecurity concerns are “too general and hypothetical”, says Nature.
Furthermore, the political sensitivities of deciding who the ‘wrong hands’ are, and who should make this decision, risk heightening the international tensions that already exist over attempts to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, most recently over Iran’s nuclear programme.
But two things are essential if the data are to be made more widely available. First, open publication must be accompanied by an effective monitoring system. This would look out for potential misuse of the data.
Second, the issue needs as wide a public debate as possible, actively promoted by both health officials and journalists to ensure it is adequately informed.
Developing countries such as Indonesia, which has the highest bird flu transmission rates and the most fatalities, have a particular interest in the outcome of this debate. They have more to gain from new techniques to prevent virus transmission, such as effective vaccines, than from restrictions on the publication of these data.
Concerns about biosecurity must be kept in perspective. They are certainly important, but should not cloud our judgement on the urgency of developing adequate protection against an evolved form of the virus, whether natural or man-made.
David Dickson
Editor, SciDev.Net

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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA SOCIAL BLOGS & LINKS:
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DEVELOPMENT SITES:
http://www.adb.org, http://www.asean.org, http://www.bis.org, http://www.devex.com, http://www.eldis.org, http://www.fao.org, http://www.icc-cpi.int, http://www.imf.org, http://www.iom.int, http://www.scidev.net, http://www.un.org, http://www.undp.org, http://www.unescap.org, http://www.unesco.org, http://www.unhabitat.org, http://www.unhcr.org, http://www.unido.org, http://www.unis.unvienna.org, http://www.who.int, http://www.worldbank.org, http://www.wto.org

BIRDS’ FLU RETHOUGHT WITH SCIENTIFIC OPENNESS

April 12, 2012

BIRDS’ FLU RETHOUGHT WITH SCIENTIFIC OPENNESS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Birds flu struck the world as a pandemic just a few years back, creating fright night panic in some key cities over incoming overseas visitors that are afflicted with the ailment. Indonesia is among those countries hit hard in terms of transmission of the birds flu, and so the Indonesian case could be examined to rethink the health problem at hand.

What makes the birds flu hazard truly alarming is that over 80% of those afflicted die of the disease. It now seems that, on hindsight, the lack of scientific openness had inflated the destructive reach and impact of the bird flu pandemic.

There is over-consciousness about intellectual property piracy of course, which accounts for the behavior of self-constraint among research scientists. How far can that wall of secrecy be loosened up to effect a cross-border clamp down of the bird flu virus?

Below is an interesting reportage about the subject.

[Philippines, 03 April 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/health/bird-flu/editorials/tackling-bird-flu-effectively-needs-scientific-openness-1.html
Tackling bird flu effectively needs scientific openness
David Dickson
2 March 2012
Efforts to limit publication of controversial bird flu research could end up doing more harm than good.
Last week, a 12-year-old boy in Indonesia died after becoming infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus. His death brought the global death toll to 347 since the disease was first reported among humans in 2005.
At first sight the figure does not look too alarming compared to the many millions that die from other infectious diseases. And although the virus is usually fatal — up to 80 per cent of those infected die from it — the overall incidence of human infection remains relatively low.
This is because most people only get infected through contact with infected poultry. But what if the virus could spread between humans?
This spectre has now been raised by two teams of scientists, working at a medical centre in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin in the United States, respectively. Each team genetically altered the virus into a form that can pass between ferrets through the air — implying that a similar strain could evolve (or be created) that could spread between humans.
The consequences could be so disastrous that last year, a US body set up in 2005 to look at the potential biosecurity risks of laboratory-created organisms recommended that papers on the work submitted to the world’s two leading scientific journals, Science and Nature, should not be published in full.
The argument of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) was that the information could be used by terrorist groups or individuals to produce a powerful biological weapon that could spark a deadly epidemic if released into the human population.
Risks of restriction
There is a strong logic to this argument. Withholding the technical details of the steps required to produce a deadly virus would certainly make it considerably more difficult for anyone to copy the process.
And some have advocated going even further to curtail access to such information with calls for a ban on all research that could lead to new, potentially lethal viruses. Their argument is that the threat such viruses would pose if they escaped from the laboratory is so great that nothing justifies the risk of even carrying out research for them.
But both arguments have flaws. Those seeking publication of the information in heavily edited form risk denying scientists access to data that could play an essential role in preparing defences against the virus, such as developing vaccines.
A complete ban on the research could have similar repercussions. Scientific understanding of the bird flu virus, how it spreads and how it mutates, is essential to minimise the chances of another flu pandemic. The flu virus that swept across the world in 1918 killed up to 20 per cent of those infected, causing an estimated 50 million deaths.
An alternative strategy
The scientific community has had intense discussions over what to do with the papers over the past few months.
Initially the NSABB suggested a solution could lie in publishing redacted (edited) versions of the papers with some of the key scientific and technical data omitted.
Both journals to which the research was submitted have been exploring how they might do this while making full versions of the papers available to scientists who have been vetted to ensure they would use the data responsibly.
But on close examination, this option has presented difficulties. For example, much of the technical data in one of the papers has already been presented at a scientific conference so attempts to prevent its further dissemination may be ineffective.
Another significant objection raised at a meeting organised by the WHO in Geneva two weeks ago (16 February) was the difficulty of reaching an international consensus on the criteria for vetting scientists who request the full data.
Concerns in perspective
Following the WHO meeting Nature said in an editorial that the benefits of open publication outweighed the risks identified so far, and that in principle “the papers should ultimately be published in full”. [1]
Similarly the editor of Science said in a recent interview with the BBC that “our default position is that we have to publish in complete form”. [2]
A final decision is awaiting further discussion at the WHO. But this position is brave, and correct.
There are substantial public health benefits in as many scientists as possible having access to the data if they are to understand potential changes to the virus.
These outweigh the advantages — likely to be short-lived — of restricting access to prevent the data from falling into the wrong hands. And at present, the biosecurity concerns are “too general and hypothetical”, says Nature.
Furthermore, the political sensitivities of deciding who the ‘wrong hands’ are, and who should make this decision, risk heightening the international tensions that already exist over attempts to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, most recently over Iran’s nuclear programme.
But two things are essential if the data are to be made more widely available. First, open publication must be accompanied by an effective monitoring system. This would look out for potential misuse of the data.
Second, the issue needs as wide a public debate as possible, actively promoted by both health officials and journalists to ensure it is adequately informed.
Developing countries such as Indonesia, which has the highest bird flu transmission rates and the most fatalities, have a particular interest in the outcome of this debate. They have more to gain from new techniques to prevent virus transmission, such as effective vaccines, than from restrictions on the publication of these data.
Concerns about biosecurity must be kept in perspective. They are certainly important, but should not cloud our judgement on the urgency of developing adequate protection against an evolved form of the virus, whether natural or man-made.
David Dickson
Editor, SciDev.Net

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA SOCIAL BLOGS & LINKS:
http://erleargonza.blogspot.com, https://unladtau.wordpress.com, http://www.facebook.com, http://www.newciv.org, http://sta.rtup.biz, http://magicalsecretgarden.socialparadox.com, http://en.netlog.com/erlefrayne, http://talangguro.blogfree.net, http://www.blogster.com/erleargonza, http://efdargon.multiply.com,
http://internationalpeaceandconflict.org, http://erleargonza.seekopia.com, http://lovingenergies.spruz.com, http://www.articlesforfree.net, http://www.facebook.com

DEVELOPMENT SITES:
http://www.adb.org, http://www.asean.org, http://www.bis.org, http://www.devex.com, http://www.eldis.org, http://www.fao.org, http://www.icc-cpi.int, http://www.imf.org, http://www.iom.int, http://www.scidev.net, http://www.un.org, http://www.undp.org, http://www.unescap.org, http://www.unesco.org, http://www.unhabitat.org, http://www.unhcr.org, http://www.unido.org, http://www.unis.unvienna.org, http://www.who.int, http://www.worldbank.org, http://www.wto.org

CLEANING UGANDA’S IMAGE WITH CLEAN DEVELOPMENT HUB ROLE

April 10, 2012

CLEANING UGANDA’S IMAGE WITH CLEAN DEVELOPMENT HUB ROLE

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Great good news is coming out of the African continent by the day, one them being the new role assigned to Uganda as clean development mechanism or CDM hub. I surely welcome this new development for Uganda, and wish no less for its immense success.

The target is to roll out the pioneering sectors over the next three (3) years that will exhibit the benefits of clean development. Belgium is bankrolling the research & development aspect. Already, a short list of industry sectors such as stove industry and hydropower were identified as key drivers of the CDM efforts.

Uganda’s image globally would surely change towards the better with the CDM hub role. The global community cannot forget those horrific times of Idi Amin tyranny era, when Uganda became an eyesore for Africa being a bloodbath country.

Below is the gladdening news about the new development in Uganda.

[Philippines, 02 April March 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/climate-change-and-energy/news/uganda-to-become-clean-development-mechanism-hub.html
Uganda to become Clean Development Mechanism Hub
Esther Nakkazi
2 March 2012
[KAMPALA] Uganda is set to become a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Hub over the next three years, with financial assistance from Belgium.
The Belgian Development Agency is investing US$2.6 million in the scheme, which will be overseen by the designated national authority — the Climate Change Unit (CCU) at the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment.
Private companies can register to receive training in monitoring, validation, verification and how to negotiate carbon credit transactions under the CDM. These will be registered with the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat through the CCU.
Companies with the potential to earn carbon credits include many in the domestic sector: cooking stoves, domestic biogas and green charcoal — a household fuel produced from agricultural waste.
Other sectors with the potential to benefit include those involved in small-scale hydroelectricity, landfill gas, photovoltaics, solar-powered LED lighting, solar water heaters and water purification,as well as industrial activities in the sectors of cement, biodiesel, sugar and wastewater.
Traineeships will open for applications on 1 April 2012. Associates of the scheme will offer training in CDM basics, investment analysis and the mechanism’s legal aspects, according to Adriaan Tas, managing director of Carbon Africa Limited and an advisor to the project.
Ten projects are currently registered with the CDM, and the newly established Hub will work with them to help them sell Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs). These include Africa’s largest CDM renewable energy project, the Bujagali hydropower project, which is hosted by Uganda. More projects will be taken on by the Hub in the future.
Speaking at the CDM Hub launch in Kampala, Uganda, on 14 February, Tas said the scheme would add momentum to the CDM phenomenon in Uganda.
“A lot of projects get stuck without financing. They only remain at the registration level. The CDM enables us to support such projects through [to] trading and capacity building,” he said.
“We need to push this market so that it matures,” he said, adding that the programme has added benefits, including increased economic activity, job creation and technology transfer.
Bob Natifu, the CCU’s communications officer, said: “These projects not only modernise eligible sectors, but also contribute to global climate protection.”
Michael Zkalubo, meteorology commissioner at Uganda’s Water and Environment Ministry, said: “Capacity building will help us benefit from adaptation and mitigation.”
The Hub Scheme will be implemented by the CCU, working closely with international consultants from Camco International Limited and Carbon Africa Limited.
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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA SOCIAL BLOGS & LINKS:
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DEVELOPMENT SITES:
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SOUND SCIENCE SUSTAINS OCEANS

April 9, 2012

SOUND SCIENCE SUSTAINS OCEANS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Ocean management is among the emerging multi-disciplinal fields today. Judging by the rise of eco-disaster events such as oil spillage in the oceans of late, there is no reason to further delay the growth of ocean management.

Sound science is the key to workable ocean management, and I do go along with this contention. Better monitoring can buttress emergency responses by millions of folds, so the efforts toward better monitoring should be done with greater vigor.

Let’s go back to the tsunami that struck Japan over a year ago. That catastrophe left too much indelible scars on the Japanese national life as well as the global community, as there was only a fractional monitoring of oceans across the globe at that juncture. Quick response could have saved more lives and properties then, should the proper monitoring systems been in place worldwide.

Ocean management is a cross-country concern and should not just be the expertise of a few notable wealthy economies and emerging markets. The sharing of information should be one of sanguine interdependence across the globe, as ocean problems affect regions and economies when they are at peak points.

Below is a nice discussion about the subject.

[Philippines, 29 March 2012]

Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/ocean-science-for-sustainable-development/editorials/managing-oceans-with-sound-science-1.html
Managing oceans with sound science
David Dickson and Anita Makri
15 February 2012
Management of marine resources for sustainable development needs local capacity for science, particularly in the Pacific region.
Those who care about environmental damage and its effects on the health and welfare of communities tend to focus on land-based threats. That is where harm can be most easily observed, and where its causes — from agricultural pesticides to industrial air pollution — are most readily identified.
But this ignores the vast damage that human activity has also inflicted on the planet’s largest, and possibly most valuable, resource: its oceans.
Oceans cover nearly three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 80 per cent of its living organisms, and deliver 60 per cent of the dietary protein in tropical developing countries.
The services that oceans provide are now under threat from human activities ranging from severe over-fishing to mineral extraction, and from the impacts of acidification to global warming.
There is no simple response to these threats. But an essential component of any strategy to protect the oceans — and to ensure sustainable development of their resources — is effective, science-based management.
This, in turn, requires reliable data on which to base sound policy decisions (as well as an appropriate balance between science and traditional local knowledge).
So one of the biggest challenges facing communities that rely on healthy oceans for their survival — particularly the small island developing states (SIDS) in the Pacific and elsewhere — is building the capacity to both generate and interpret such data.
Oceans in the spotlight
This week, we present a number of articles highlighting the challenges faced in generating the robust scientific data that form the bedrock to effective management of marine resources, with a particular emphasis on the Pacific region.
Our Spotlight opens with an overview of the issues at stake. Sarah Grimes, the editorial consultant on this project, describes the main monitoring and data-gathering projects that currently operate in the Pacific, and how they help keep track of threats to sustainable development.
She outlines how ocean science developed from the early 1800s to the initiatives agreed twenty years ago at the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and looks at the future challenges facing small island developing nations.
Grimes also warns that “Limited information can lead to poor decisions that limit countries’ capacity to develop without damaging the marine environment and the health of local populations, perpetuating the cycle of poverty”.
In the first of three opinion articles, Ben Ponia describes how monitoring priorities have changed over the years in the Cook Islands, of which he is marine resources secretary. He highlights the importance of building local capacity to use scientific tools, and argues that Pacific islands need to take responsibility for monitoring into their own hands.
Fisheries scientist Johann Bell looks at how better monitoring data could improve fishing strategies. He argues that climate change, despite the dangers it presents, could actually benefit some Pacific countries through increasing catches of tuna. But success will require information from local communities, relevant training programmes, and long-term investment by countries themselves.
Ocean scientists Sidney Thurston and M. Ravichandran describe the growing risk of damage — whether through vandalism or negligence — to ocean buoys that gather crucial data for ocean and climate monitoring. They warn that without action to prevent such damage, the global community will suffer not only the financial loses, but also vital data, and even lives.
Finally, in a feature on the growth of locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) in the Pacific region — one of the success stories of sustainable ocean resource development — assistant news editor Naomi Antony describes the challenges in balancing the contribution of modern science with that of the traditional knowledge embedded in local cultures, and the practical demands of locally managed resource conservation strategies.
Signs of progress
Of course, good scientific data, and even well-designed conservation strategies, are not sufficient to ensure sustainable development. Equally necessary is a political framework to ensure that both are put into effective use.
So there are high hopes that one of the more substantial conclusions to emerge from the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, which takes place in June (20 years after the first Earth Summit), will be political agreement on the need for a number of steps to protect the world’s marine resources.
So far the signs are promising. The ‘zero draft’ of the final report for the conference, published last month, includes a commitment to a new treaty to protect the two-thirds of the world’s oceans that lie outside national jurisdictions. It also promises to address issues such as marine debris and ocean acidification.
There are therefore reasons to be optimistic that the Rio+20 conference will be a milestone in efforts to protect the oceans for future generations. But political agreement will be meaningless unless it can be translated into concrete steps. As Grimes points out, previous commitments have been slow to progress, partly because political priorities often work against the direction of good environmental management.
Future progress will rely on science playing a major role through spotting and analysing problems, identifying potential solutions, and monitoring how effective they have been. Much of this requires coordinated action at the international level.
But ultimately, true progress must be local. Those island states on the front line of problems created by poor ocean management need support and resources to develop their capacity to generate and use scientific data. Only then can they play a full role in establishing a more effective, and sustainable, approach.
David Dickson,
Editor, SciDev.Net
Anita Makri,
Commissioning editor, SciDev.Net
This article is part of a Spotlight on Ocean science for sustainable development.
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PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: http://erleargonza.com

ARGONZA SOCIAL BLOGS & LINKS:
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DEVELOPMENT SITES:
http://www.adb.org, http://www.asean.org, http://www.bis.org, http://www.devex.com, http://www.eldis.org, http://www.fao.org, http://www.icc-cpi.int, http://www.imf.org, http://www.iom.int, http://www.scidev.net, http://www.un.org, http://www.undp.org, http://www.unescap.org, http://www.unesco.org, http://www.unhabitat.org, http://www.unhcr.org, http://www.unido.org, http://www.unis.unvienna.org, http://www.who.int, http://www.worldbank.org, http://www.wto.org