Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A way of life is feeling the heat

Long piece in the BBC: International development policies are undermining the long term survival of some of the globe's poorest communities, argues Masego Madzwamuse. In this week's Green Room, she says the skills and knowledge needed to survive in the world's harsh drylands are being sacrificed in the name of progress. The world's poorest of the poor live in the toughest areas of the planet - the drylands.

These areas all have key factors in common: water is scarce, and rainfall is unpredictable - or it rains only during a very short period every year. Drylands cover more than 40% of the Earth's surface and are home to more than two billion people. These areas are also home to a disproportionate number of people without secure access to food.

Why are 43% of the world's cultivated lands found in dry areas? And why have decades of development not led to significant improvements? Rather than improving, it would appear that the situation is getting worse, with more frequent droughts, such as those in Ethiopia and Northern Kenya. Another important issue that strikes me about drylands is that these areas have been completely neglected despite being the world's home of the poor….

The Sahara in Algeria, shot by Florence Devouard, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2

No comments: