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Monday, July 22, 2019

Health Matters: Merck Foundation partners with Malawian First Lady - NaijaAgroNet

The Merck Foundation to launch their programs in partnership with First Lady of Malawi and Ministries of Health, Information, Education and Gender; Merck foundation to train Malawian doctors in the fields Cancer, Diabetes and Fertility Care to improve access to equitable and quality healthcare in the country.

Also Merck Foundation plans to launch a storybook to teach children and youth strong family values of love and respect- Limbani and Takondwa’s Story; 

In addition, Merck Foundation to launch the “Merck More Than a Mother" Media Recognition Awards and the first Health Media Training to eliminate infertility stigma and sensitize Malawian communities; Merck Foundation to also launch ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Fashion Awards to create a meaningful fashion trend aiming to educate our communities that ‘Fertility is a Shared Responsibility’.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA together with Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Gender launched their programs to build equitable and quality healthcare capacity and break the infertility stigma in the country.

H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Motheremphasized, “I am happy to welcome Merck Foundation to officially launch their programs which are going to be very beneficial for the people of our country. These programs will prove very significant in creating an impact on our people’s advancement, as health is very critical to our social and economic development. The programs will also help to break the stigma of infertility across the country which is very critical. We are happy that Merck Foundation understands our culture and working closely with Dr. Rasha Kelej, the CEO of Merck foundation as an African woman adds value to the success of the programs since she is coming from similar background.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained, “It is very important for us to underscore our long term partnership with H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother to build healthcare capacity in the country. We will be training Malawian doctors in the fields of Diabetes, Fertility and Cancer care in partnership with the Government of Malawi. Our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of people of the continent.”

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Free medicare: Hajiya Bala Mohammad commends Fidelity Bank - NaijaAgoNet

NaijaAgoNet:
The Wife of Bauchi State Governor, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammad has commended Fidelity Bank for providing free medical outreach to 1,000 people in Misau Local Government Area (LGA) of Bauchi State, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, reports NaijaAgoNet.

The outreach was organised by the Al-Muhibbah Foundation in collaboration with staff members of the bank. 

Addressing beneficiaries in Misua, Mrs Mohammad urged them to regularly check their health status in order to reduce cases of diabetes, cancer, hepatitis, high blood pressure, amongst other ailments.

She pointed out that malnutrition and lack of access to health facilities are also some of the peculiar problems, that need to be addressed in the state. The outreach which held from June 20 – 21, 2019 at the Misau Secretariat office provided the Fidelity Family with an opportunity to connect with the people of Misau community. Driven purely by altruistic values and an innate desire to make the world a better place, Bauchi Branch staff pulled their resources together to provide free qualitative healthcare to the people.

Working under the auspices of the Fidelity Helping Hands Programme (FHHP), the Bank partnered with Bridge Medical & Consult Services Limited, to provide a wide variety of medical tests and prescription drugs that would help promote the general health and wellbeing of members of Misau community. Targeted specifically at Women and the Girl Child, the outreach featured free cervical cancer screening, blood pressure check, eye and dental checkup, Body Mass Index (BMI), HIV and Hepatitis test, amongst others.

Children also benefited from other medical services such as immunization, deworming, eye and dental care, as well as HIV/AIDS tests, etc. The Fidelity CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo expressed his appreciation at the massive turn out of people at the outreach. Okonkwo who was represented by the Head, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Chris Nnakwe said the bank was in the business of transforming lives. “At Fidelity Bank, we understand that good health and wellbeing are fundamental to sustainable development.

“As much as the world has made significant progress in looking for solution to health issues, basic access to healthcare remains a challenge in Africa. Fidelity Bank has invested in the Health sector through infrastructural development, medical outreach and others”, he added. Speaking in the same vein, His Royal Highness, Emir of Misau, Alhaji Ahmad Sulaiman (mni, thanked the Fidelity Family for its kind gesture. He urged the bank to do more and keep reaching out to people.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Her Excellency – Hajiya (Dr) Aishatu Bala Muhammad- 1st lady, Bauchi chats with one of the beneficiaries of the medical outreach.
 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Applause for GEF over #179m support on FAO-led projects - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
FAO has welcomed a decision by the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to provide $179 million to support the UN agency's work with countries worldwide at the critical nexus between agriculture and the environment. This includes projects focussed on biodiversity conservation, transboundary water resources management, sustainable land management, highly hazardous pesticide remediation, and climate change adaptation.

The funding stems from the GEF's Council meeting in Washington this week where governments approved two separate Work Programs totalling some $966 million, the biggest allocation in GEF's history. This will benefit 91 nations, including 30 Least Developed Countries and 32 Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

As part of one of the work programs, the GEF launched two landmark Impact Programs -- on Dryland Sustainable Landscapes (DSL) and Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration. Some $104 million of the funding will go to the DSL Impact Programme, led by FAO, in 11 countries in Africa and Asia, in partnership with the World Bank, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the World Wildlife Fund. The Impact Program will target efforts to avoid, reduce and reverse further deforestation, degradation, and desertification in: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

FAO has also been invited to play a key role with the World Bank in a second GEF Impact Program the Food Systems, Land Use, and Restoration Program. All these initiatives will address the complex interaction between maintaining resilient production systems in drylands, promoting restoration, and improving livelihoods through a comprehensive landscape approach.

"FAO strongly welcomes the GEF Council's decision which builds on a long standing partnership and significantly contributes to the need to address critical environmental challenges while improving food security," said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director General, Climate and Natural Resources.

The GEF Council also approved a $101 million work program for the GEF's climate change adaptation trust funds -- the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) of which $44 million are FAO-GEF projects.

This LDCF/SCCF Work Program encompasses a range of adaptation priorities, including climate-smart agriculture and forestry, building urban, rural, and coastal community climate resilience, improving water resource management and availability for agriculture and domestic uses, strengthening climate resilience in vulnerable coastal communities, enhancing adaptive capacity of communities through integrated approaches.

FAO is a partner agency of the GEF, a partnership of 18 agencies and 183 countries to address the world's most challenging environmental issues related to biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, chemicals, and international waters. The GEF provides grants to countries to meet these challenges whilst contributing to key development goals, such as food security.

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ADf4D fiances renewable energy in Cuba - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for international development aid, together with the Cuba’s Ministry of Energy and Mines and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), inaugurated a new 10 megawatt (MW) solar PV project. The grid-connected project was financed by ADFD with US$15 million under the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility and will deliver enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 7,000 Cuban homes.

The solar PV project contributes to the Cuban government’s national objectives to reduce the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation and increase the share of power from renewables to 24 per cent by 2030. This project will mitigate around 12,700 tCO2 emissions annually.

The inauguration took place in the presence of Cuba’s Vice-Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr. Livan Arronte, His Excellency Bader Almatrooshi, UAE Ambassador to Cuba, and Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA.

Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said: “ADFD is proud to have partnered with the Cuban government and IRENA in completing this crucial 10 MW solar PV project. We are confident that the impact from this renewable energy venture will ensure widespread economic, environmental and social benefits to the Cuban people.”

He added: “The Fund’s interest in the renewable energy sector reflects its dedication to supporting international efforts to achieve the outlined energy priorities of developing countries and the UN’s SDGs, as well as contribute in meeting global climate targets.”

His Excellency Bader Almatrooshi, said: “As an active member of the international community and under the leadership of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE proactively supports global efforts to achieve the outlined objectives of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

He added: “The UAE and Cuba enjoy long-standing and robust bilateral relations. This project is a testament to cross-border collaboration in supporting transformative renewable energy projects across the world.”

Commending ADFD and IRENA for their role in supporting national energy, climate and sustainable development priorities, His Excellency Raúl García Barreiro said: “Not only has the funding from ADFD helped in achieving outlined national priorities, but also helped in the completion of this transformative venture. The unique and important partnership with ADFD has aided in meeting the country’s energy targets.”

He added: “Furthermore, the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility is a testament to the importance of cross-border innovative solutions in renewable energy. The 10 MW Grid-connected Solar PV project will help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increase the share of renewables in Cuba’s energy mix.”

The project was approved for funding by ADFD during the second cycle of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility as part of the ADFD initiative launched in 2013 with a commitment of US$350 million over seven funding cycles to support renewable energy projects in IRENA-member developing countries.

IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said: “Today marks an important moment for Cuba and the Cuban people. Renewable energy supports energy security, creates jobs and contributes to emission reductions. This 10MW project sets Cuba on a positive pathway to meeting these objectives and demonstrates that through strategic cooperation we can inject momentum into the energy transition."

To date, ADFD has provided concessionary loans cumulatively valued at US$245 million to 24 renewable energy projects over six cycles of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility.

Notably, from its inception in 1971 until December 2018, ADFD has financed hundreds of development projects in the renewable energy sector around the world worth US$1.187 billion. Driving the objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, these projects have contributed to the production of about 2,584 MW of renewable energy in benefited countries.




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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Busting the Myths - the truth behind trophy hunting - NaijaAgroNet

Commentary@NaijaAgroNet:

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Hunters claim that the fees they pay benefit wildlife conservation, local communities, and the economics of the countries when trophy hunting takes place. They also claim that by targeting ‘problem’ or ‘redundant’ animals their activities represent a legitimate form of wildlife management.Today, international wildlife charity Born Free has released the findings of their 18-month cross-disciplinary investigation into the practice, finally unveiling the truth behind the myths.

Taken from the field, from within hunting organisations, with hunters, communities, academics;psychologists, economists and conservationists, the top line results are broken down in the report, backed with evidence, rather than beliefs and prejudice - with facts from the front line:

MYTH - Trophy hunting aids wildlife conservation

TRUTH: Evidence suggests that, far from benefiting wildlife conservation, the effects of trophy hunting are all too often detrimental. The fact that many species are in serious decline in the very countries which allow them to be hunted tells its own story.

Because hunters value rarity, the rarest species are disproportionately affected by hunting pressure and may be driven towards extinction as a result1. Trophy hunting also has wider implications for the welfare of non-target animals. Removing particular animals on the basis of specified individual traits may have a disproportionate impact on the behaviour of remaining animals in the group, and its genetic integrity.

MYTH - Trophy hunters use humane methods to kill their prey

TRUTH: Some hunting organisations acknowledge that trophy hunters have a responsibility to avoid inflicting undue suffering and should aim to make quick and humane kills. However, many trophy hunting organisations offer awards for methods of killing a trophy animal which might include the use of bows and arrows, handguns, or ‘traditional’ weapons such as muzzle loaders or spears, methods that clearly do not prioritise the welfare of the target animal.

It’s not just at the point of killing where animal welfare is compromised. Target animals may be pursued for long periods of time (in some cases days) during hunts. Individuals may be separated from family groups or populations which may result in considerable stress. In some cases, target animals may be deliberately lured into hunting areas.

MYTH: Trophy hunter fees help the local communities

TRUTH: Local communities do not benefit from trophy hunting to any significant degree. An analysis of data published by the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, found hunting companies contribute on average just 3% of their revenue to communities living in hunting areas. The vast majority of their income goes to government agencies, outfitters and individuals located in national capitals or overseas.

MYTH: Trophy hunting contributes to a country’s economy

TRUTH: Trophy hunting’s contribution to the economy is negligible. A 2017 study concluded that “the current total economic contribution of trophy hunters from their hunting-related, and non-hunting related, tourism is, at most, about 0.03% of GDP” and an economic study published in 2013 estimated that trophy hunting generates just 1.8% of total tourism revenues in countries that allow the practice.

Alternative economic activities can generate far more revenue from wildlife than trophy hunting. Alive elephant may be worth as much as US$1.6m over its lifetime through income from photographic tourism, many times the fee typically paid by a trophy hunter. Furthermore, non-consumptive photographic wildlife tourism can often operate year-round, host a significantly larger number of guests, employ more people, generate higher average revenues, and offer higher staff wages than trophy hunting outfitters.

MYTH: Trophy hunting can help with wildlife management

TRUTH: Trophy hunters do not generally target problem, redundant or old and infirm animals, preferring to set their sights on animals with impressive traits - the darkest mane, the biggest tusks, the longest horns. This often results in the killing of key individuals, removing vital genetic resources and causing disruption to family groups, populations and, by extension, the wide ecosystems of which they form a part.

MYTH: Trophy hunting is well regulated

TRUTH: The degree to which trophy hunting is regulated varies according to the country and species concerned. At an international level, CITES regulates international trade in species listed on its Appendices, which requires that trophies for export conform to relevant definitions, are legally obtained in their country of origin, their export is not detrimental to the survival of the species concerned, and the trophy-hunting operations are sustainably managed. However, the mechanisms for scrutinising the sustainability of trophy hunting operations are weak and left largely to national governments, and there are no provisions relating to the welfare of the animal or animals from which the trophies are derived.

Howard Jones, CEO of Born Free, said “Given that the same conversations kept circling about trophy hunting, whilst the same denials and obfuscation bounced around, we decided to pull together this shockingly eye-opening report.

“It seemed to us that there was something very odd about a human enterprise that could provoke so much interest, produce so much evidence, and generate huge passions, but which washed around in an apparently fathomless sea of conflicting truths.

“Our thanks go to those who must live where hunting takes place and suffer the consequences. At Born Free we are indebted to them and will continue to do all that is in our power to free them and the wildlife with which they live from this absurdity.”

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SDG 2: UN to launch latest edition of ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition’ -NaijaAgroNet

The United Nations (UN) is set to launch the latest edition of ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition’ in the World at its Headquarters in New York, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Also, NaijaAgroNet gathered that the report gives an updated estimate of the number of hungry people in the world, including regional and national breakdowns, and the latest data on child stunting and wasting as well as on adult and child obesity.

“This year’s report also goes beyond hunger, providing estimates for the first time of the number of people who face uncertainties about obtaining food and have reduced the quality and quantity of the food they eat to get by, who we call moderately food insecure.

The report slated for launch on Monday 15 July at Room S-237, also offers analysis of the drivers of hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition, and this year includes a special focus on the impact of economic slowdowns and downturns on these three aspects of SDG 2.

It is being launched by five UN agencies – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The principals of FAO, IFAD, and WFP will be taking questions at the press conference.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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