The Africa Center Newsroom

Kathleen Galvin held an international workshop January 28-31, 2015 on Dryland Collaborative Institutions and Innovative Transformations to Sustainability. A group of academics, scholars, managers and practitioners of dryland collaboratives from Mongolia, Kenya and the US met to ‘discover, dream, design and deliver’ research for a Knowledge Network  for addressing natural resource problems in rangelands. Collaboratives/conservancies constitute a new kind of problem-solving organization for sustainable drylands.

In 2014, 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa for their horns, which end up in Asia as supposed cures for a variety of ailments. An estimated 30,000 African elephants were slaughtered last year for their tusks to be turned into trinkets. The world loses three rhinos a day and an elephant every 15 minutes. Simply stated, this is an unsustainable situation. Our team at the University of Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies has created a new multifaceted approach to combat poaching in Africa and Asia. We devise analytical models of how animals, poachers and rangers simultaneously move through space and time by combining high resolution satellite imagery with loads of big data – everything from moon phases, to weather, to previous poaching locations, to info from rhinos' satellite ankle trackers – and then applying our own algorithms. We can predict where the key players are likely to be, so we can get smart about where to deploy rangers to best protect animals and thwart poachers.

Africa will be able to feed itself in the next 15 years. That’s one of the big “bets on the future” that Bill and Melinda Gates have made in their foundation’s latest annual letter. Helped by other breakthroughs in health, mobile banking and education, they argue that the lives of people in poor countries “will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history”.

The International Social Science Council (ISSC) has awarded Kathleen Galvin  (Anthropology, SoGES), a Transformations to Sustainability grant of € 30,000 for 6 months  to develop a Transformative Knowledge Network on the World’s Rangelands through Social Change.  Galvin and her team will bring together researchers and practitioners from Kenya, Mongolia and the US Great Plains to CSU to develop a large three-year proposal for an internationally comparative research program on rangeland sustainability.

What do the UN Climate talks mean for food and farming?

The world’s leading scientists have already established that climate change is happening now, and that there are many tools and approaches to help farmers adapt, become more food-secure, and even shrink their climate-footprint by reducing greenhouse emissions. For the next two weeks, world leaders are meeting in Lima, Peru, to negotiate a new global climate change deal that will be adopted at next year’s UN Climate conference in Paris.

Kathleen Galvin, Director of The Africa Center, has been elected for The Nature Conservancy in Colorado Board of Trustees. The announcement was made in The Nature Conservancy in Colorado press release on October 20, 2014:

Nairobi, Kenya: This year we celebrate the first Tusker Day on September 22nd which happens to be Elephant Appreciation Day in honor of Satao, Africa's largest elephant bull, slain by poachers on May 30th 2014. Satao belonged to an elite group of elephants called Tuskers because his tusks were so big they almost touched the ground. Tuskers and elephants are facing imminent extinction in 15 years unless we act. We hope that this day will create more awareness on the plight of Tusker elephants.

Wildlife lobbies have disputed the doomsday scenario fronted by the Ministry of Environment in opposing declaration of poaching as a national disaster. In a report presented to a parliamentary committee last week, the ministry's top brass said the move will bring Kenya's tourism industry tumbling down; however, several activists and conservationists are currently lobbying the committee on Environment and Natural Resources to reject the report. The report also claims Vision 2030 will be rendered useless if tourism fails.

During the recent World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden’s King Carl Gustav presented the city’s prestigious Water Prize to John Briscoe, a former water manager at the World Bank. After many years spent in the international water bureaucracy, Briscoe says he is “controversial and proud of it”. Indeed, the jury’s choice raises contentious questions about dams and their alternatives.

Team members of The Africa Center, Kathleen Galvin and Robin Reid, report on the increase in community-based conservancies in Kenya and how these transformations are benefiting wildlife, livestock, and human well-being.

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