Environment and sustainability
The future belongs to solar energy! Our sun is a nearly inexhaustible source of energy that is predestined for photovoltaic systems to use to generate sustainable and climate-friendly energy. But to be able to extract enough “green” energy and make the world more climate friendly, more areas are needed for solar modules. As competition for land increases around the world, the focus is also shifting to places that have hardly, if ever, been used for energy generation: roofs, industrial plants, farmland and, increasingly, standing bodies of water.
The current issue of Development in Brief explores the question of how the use of these water areas as locations for solar installations affects electricity production and output, but also the surrounding biotope.
The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by UN member states 70 years ago was a historical moment. It stipulated that every person on this planet – regardless of origin, sex, religion or social status – had the same rights and freedoms, thereby laying the foundation of the international human rights protection system. The human rights laid down in the declaration apply to all political fields including development policy and are a common reference point for development cooperation partners. We are using the anniversary of the declaration as an opportunity to discuss the relationship between human rights and infrastructure expansion as a key development policy concern. What are chances and potential risks, and how should we handle them?
Our oceans are under threat for a variety of reasons. One reason: they are being inundated with plastic waste which breaks down into tiny particles and ultimately ends up in the food chain. A plastic garbage patch the size of Europe is floating in the Pacific Ocean. If current practices don't change, it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by the middle of the century. As a result,calls for technical solutions, like huge vacuums to clean up the oceans, are growing louder. But these technologies are not fully developed yet and also only address the symptoms. If we want to protect and preserve the oceans as ecosystems in the long term, we have to make sure that nothing ends up in the oceans that doesn't belong there: the most effective marine protection starts on land.
Following the G7 summit in Germany with its strong focus on development and climate policy, there are three more major international conferences on the issue of development and climate finance scheduled for 2015. The first of these, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) being held in Addis Ababa from 13 July to 16 July, is to lay the groundwork for the success of UN negotiations regarding a new, universal system of targets for sustainable development.
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