Thursday, July 16, 2015

Research talks

The University of Botswana, in collaboration with Kwando Safaris, would like to present the first in a series of Research Talks
By researchers for everyone


Monday, July 13, 2015

First World Leaders’ Conservation Forum promotes peaceful co-existence with nature

The first World Leaders’ Conservation Forum that was held in the Republic of South Korea underscored the critical role of nature conservation in peace building and sustainable development. It called for bold leadership at the global and local levels to stop the devastating loss of biodiversity taking place today.

Under the theme Nature: a path to peace and coexistence, the Forum included technical Expert Sessions and a World Leaders’ Dialogue that covered a range of topics from the threats to biodiversity and co-existence between humans and wildlife to peace-building and sustainable development.

Hosted by the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of the Environment, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and IUCN, this inaugural event attracted more than 700 participants from 52 countries.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a video message to Forum participants, commending the organisers for taking up these issues. Distinguished author and journalist Alan Weisman delivered an insightful keynote speech drawing on decades of research into human impacts on the environment, warning we were playing a game of “Russian roulette” with biodiversity.

“Human progress and nature conservation are complementary, and we must ensure that the two thrive together – not consume each other, said IUCN Director General Inger Andersen. “There are credible and accessible political, economic and technological approaches that can promote human welfare in ways that support – and even enhance – our natural planet’s assets. We have a limited window of opportunity to act, before it will be too late.”

The Republic of Korea Minister of Environment Yoon Seongkyu noted that for too long nature conservation was considered a constraint to economic development. “But when we connect nature conservation and economic growth, and engage them with each other, they become one strong and powerful mechanism that will lead us toward a better future for all.”

The Governor of Jeju Self-Governing Province Won Heeryong noted that while there is a growing awareness that human survival ultimately depends on healthy, resilient ecosystems, “we urgently need a new concept of environmental peace, where we live in harmony with nature.”

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Length of secondary schooling and risk of HIV infection in Botswana: evidence from a natural experiment

Background

An estimated 2·1 million individuals are newly infected with HIV every year. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have reported conflicting evidence for the association between education and HIV risk, and no randomised trial has identified a causal effect for education on HIV incidence. We aimed to use a policy reform in secondary schooling in Botswana to identify the causal effect of length of schooling on new HIV infection.

Methods

Data for HIV biomarkers and demographics were obtained from the nationally representative household 2004 and 2008 Botswana AIDS Impact Surveys (N=7018). In 1996, Botswana reformed the grade structure of secondary school, expanding access to grade ten and increasing educational attainment for affected cohorts. Using exposure to the policy reform as an instrumental variable, we used two-stage least squares to estimate the causal effect of years of schooling on the cumulative probability that an individual contracted HIV up to their age at the time of the survey. We also assessed the cost-effectiveness of secondary schooling as an HIV prevention intervention in comparison to other established interventions.

Findings

Each additional year of secondary schooling caused by the policy change led to an absolute reduction in the cumulative risk of HIV infection of 8·1 percentage points (p=0·008), relative to a baseline prevalence of 25·5% in the pre-reform 1980 birth cohort. Effects were particularly large in women (11·6 percentage points, p=0·046). Results were robust to a wide array of sensitivity analyses. Secondary school was cost effective as an HIV prevention intervention by standard metrics (cost per HIV infection averted was US$27 753).

Interpretation

Additional years of secondary schooling had a large protective effect against HIV risk in Botswana, particularly for women. Increasing progression through secondary school could be a cost-effective HIV prevention measure in HIV-endemic settings, in addition to yielding other societal benefits.

Read the full article:  http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(15)00087-X/fulltext

Monday, July 06, 2015

Managing Cultural World Heritage

This manual provides guidance for States Parties and all those involved in the care of World Heritage cultural properties on how to comply with the requirements of the World Heritage Convention.

It also aims to help States Parties to ensure that heritage has a dynamic role in society and harnesses, but also delivers to others, the mutual benefits that such a role can create. This manual is intended as a tool for capacity-building for the effective management of heritage, and for World Heritage properties in particular. It is designed to help all practitioners:
  • to strengthen the knowledge, abilities, skills and behaviour of people with direct responsibilities for heritage conservation and management;
  • to improve institutional structures and processes through empowering decision-makers and policy-makers; and
  • to introduce a dynamic relationship between heritage and its context that will lead to greater reciprocal benefits through an inclusive approach, such that outputs and outcomes follow on a sustainable basis.
The main text of the Resource Manual explains what is involved in management for World Heritage, its context, its philosophies and its mechanisms. A set of appendices then offers guidance on how to put them into practice.

The titles in this series are produced as PDF online documents which can be downloaded free of charge.
Free/non-profit use/reproduction of this manual is encouraged, always quoting the original source.


 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Conservation successes overshadowed by more species declines – IUCN Red List update

Successful conservation action has boosted the populations of the Iberian Lynx and the Guadalupe Fur Seal, while the African Golden Cat, the New Zealand Sea Lion and the Lion are facing increasing threats to their survival, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Ninety-nine percent of tropical Asian slipper orchids – some of the most highly prized ornamental plants – are threatened with extinction.

Today’s update also shows that over-collection and habitat destruction are placing enormous pressure on many medicinal plants.

The IUCN Red List now includes 77,340 assessed species, of which 22,784 are threatened with extinction. The loss and degradation of habitat are identified as the main threat to 85% of all species described on the IUCN Red List, with illegal trade and invasive species also being key drivers of population decline.

“This IUCN Red List update confirms that effective conservation can yield outstanding results,” says Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General. “Saving the Iberian Lynx from the brink of extinction while securing the livelihoods of local communities is a perfect example."

“But this update is also a wake-up call, reminding us that our natural world is becoming increasingly vulnerable. The international community must urgently step up conservation efforts if we want to secure this fascinating diversity of life that sustains, inspires and amazes us every day.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Transboundary conservation : a systematic and integrated approach


Approximately one-third of all terrestrial high-biodiversity sites straddle national land borders, yet few man-made boundaries are fixed, and international boundaries often alter over time or disappear altogether. This publication makes the compelling case for transboundary conservation approaches and promotes an array of innovative methods based on contemporary principles. It has been developed primarily to provide transboundary conservation managers with advice on how to work more effectively and how to address the challenges that are specific to transboundary conservation.



Access this publication on:  https://portals.iucn.org/library/efiles/documents/PAG-023.pdf

Friday, June 26, 2015

Community-based ecotourism: a collaborative partnerships perspective

This article assesses how community-based ecotourism is perceived in terms of community participation and empowerment. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and secondary sources. Collaborative partnerships underpinnings are adopted to guide the research. Results suggest that participation in ecotourism brings mixed results on biodiversity conservation and community livelihoods due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders in the design, planning, and implementation of ecotourism projects. Due to the diversity of stakeholders, the empowerment of communities using ecotourism is complex. Nonetheless, while the study may be perceived as having attained mixed results, the case study offers a progressive example of how stakeholders approach to natural resource management are evolving. Ecotourism development in Botswana still needs improvement; more considerations have to be given to in situ settings. The Chobe Enclave Community Trust, a community living adjacent to Chobe National Park in Botswana, provides the context on which this study's discussion focuses.

Access the full article: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14724049.2015.1023309