Irina Vasilyeva has been chosen as one of 17 Food Heroes by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO), as an example of how access to technical knowledge and innovation can empower smallholder farmers to become agents of change.
Food Heroes are recognized for their commitment to provide food for their communities and beyond. She spoke to the UN ahead of World Food Day, marked annually on 16 October. “My name is Irina Vasilyeva, and I live in the ancient village of Vartsikhe, Bagdati municipality in western Georgia. This is an agricultural community and families here have been involved in farming for centuries.
The clean energy industry generates hundreds of billions in economic activity, and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years. There is tremendous economic opportunity for the countries that invent, manufacture and export clean energy technologies.
Responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources — including solar, wind, water, geothermal, bioenergy & nuclear — will help ensure America’s continued leadership in clean energy. Moving forward, the Energy Department will continue to drive strategic investments in the transition to a cleaner, domestic and more secure energy future. Continue reading
Islands at the forefront
As governments try to kick-start their economies, the UN is calling for recovery plans to be built around low-carbon technologies, to avoid a return to fossil fuel-based “business as usual”. In island economies, importing fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, comes at a considerable costs. This is one of the reasons that some of them are becoming front-runners, in the bid to reduce carbon frontprints, by investing in renewable energy sources.
Mauritius, for example, is planning to generate over a third of its electricity from renewable sources within the next five years. Projects supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), will be an important part of this transition, bringing an additional 25 Mega Watts of solar power to Mauritius, including a mini-power grid in Agalega, one of the outer islands.
Dressed in all-blue overalls, with spades and shovels in hand, a group of young men and women pound the ground digging a long, narrow furrow. The group is on site at a local business in Wau, in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal, where they are doing work as part of a paid internship for solar installation to power nearby offices. This is their first internship and their enthusiasm to put to use the skills they learnt is undeniable.
The group is the first cohort under the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Settlement Project which trains and builds the capacity of youth who were previously displaced by protracted conflict and have now returned to their areas of residence in and around the town of Wau.