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DGI Brief - Oct 14, 2016

Happy Friday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Haiti #Hungary #SouthSudan #Colombia and a #GoodStoryFriday about #India's leadership in combatting #climatechange:

- HAITI: The livelihoods of over 1 million of people have been destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. Between 90-100% of crops & around 50% of livestock were lost & the fishing industry ‘washed away’ to the sea. Why it matters: The loss of life is tragic, the economic losses appear to be catastrophic. Experts say that recovery of the agricultural sector that so many Haitians depend on for the most basic livelihood can take up to 10 years – our response efforts will have to take this into account. Destroyed fruit trees, soil inundated by saltwater, we have to be precise in our programming not to give handouts, but empower & enable communities to become self-sufficient as quickly as possible… and resilient to the other extreme weather events that will only become more frequent.

- HUNGARY erected the razor-wire fence along the border with Croatia to stop the flow of refugees & migrants – a move that presents little obstacle for people it aims to stop but creates insurmountable problems for wildlife. Environmentalists & hungers on both sides of the fence note that the numbers of wildlife, like red deer, have begun declining since the fence went up. Why it matters: Animals not only get tangled in the wire & killed but their migratory patterns, so paramount for winter feeding & spring mating, have been effectively disrupted. This will have very negative effects on the entire ecosystem – perhaps not immediately, but eventually. Sadly, Hungarian authorities refuse to believe this, claiming “animals adapt well to man-made habitat changes”. You mean deer will start being born with wire cutters instead of antlers?

- SOUTH SUDAN: According to the Ministry of Finance, only 11% of the country’s budget is spent on humanitarian aid, health & education combined, while over 44% is funneled for the military & security. Yet fighting & violence against civilians is increasing. Meanwhile the population faces serious food insecurity & healthcare system is nearly nonexistent. 4-5 million people are at risk of dying without food assistance, says WFP. Areas like Northern Bahr el Ghazal see almost 60% of their population starving. Why it matters: The humanitarian flash appeals for South Sudan call for hundreds of millions of dollars while the government spends only 11% & frequently blocks aid delivery citing “insecurity”. Humanitarians cannot not help, leave people suffering, yet that seems to be exactly what governments count on – let others fund the governments’ responsibility while they spend the available monies on weapons & keeping themselves in power. Disgusting.

- COLOMBIA’s President Juan Manuel Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace process efforts to end the 52-year-long war against FARC rebels, extended the bilateral ceasefire between his government & FARC until December 31, 2016. The deal was to expire at the end of October. Why it matters: Despite the country narrowly rejecting the peace deal in a recent referendum, both sides remain committed to the peace process, keen on dialogue & finding solutions for the setback earlier this month. Nobel Prize well deserved.

- #GoodStoryFriday At the 28th Meeting of the Parties (MOP28) to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda this week, INDIA announced a law requiring Indian firms that produce the hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) to capture & burn the potent greenhouse gases & eliminate emissions into the atmosphere while freezing India’s HFC consumption. Why it matters: The HFC variant – HFC-23 – is 14,800x more potent than carbon dioxide in causing global warming once in the atmosphere. The HFC gasses are used in air conditioners, refrigerators & insulating foams around the world. Freezing the consumption/use of HFCs can 0.5 degrees of global warming, a VERY needed reduction. Congratulations, India, you are a leader & an example to the rest of the world. Will the rest of the world follow?

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