country:democratic republic of congo

  • Briefing: How Congo’s Ebola epidemic became the world’s second deadliest

    More than 11 months after an Ebola outbreak was declared in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the viral disease has claimed more than 1,500 lives, infected 2,244 people, and spread across the border into neighbouring Uganda, where two deaths and three suspected cases were reported mid-June. A new confirmed case just 43 miles from South Sudan’s border was reported Monday.


    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2019/07/02/Ebola-outbreak-congo-epidemic-attacks-community
    #ébola #ebola #Congo #épidémie #RDC #république_Démocratique_du_congo #Ouganda
    ping @fil

  • Beyond the Hype of Lab-Grown Diamonds
    https://earther.gizmodo.com/beyond-the-hype-of-lab-grown-diamonds-1834890351

    Billions of years ago when the world was still young, treasure began forming deep underground. As the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates plunged down into the upper mantle, bits of carbon, some likely hailing from long-dead life forms were melted and compressed into rigid lattices. Over millions of years, those lattices grew into the most durable, dazzling gems the planet had ever cooked up. And every so often, for reasons scientists still don’t fully understand, an eruption would send a stash of these stones rocketing to the surface inside a bubbly magma known as kimberlite.

    There, the diamonds would remain, nestled in the kimberlite volcanoes that delivered them from their fiery home, until humans evolved, learned of their existence, and began to dig them up.

    The epic origin of Earth’s diamonds has helped fuel a powerful marketing mythology around them: that they are objects of otherworldly strength and beauty; fitting symbols of eternal love. But while “diamonds are forever” may be the catchiest advertising slogan ever to bear some geologic truth, the supply of these stones in the Earth’s crust, in places we can readily reach them, is far from everlasting. And the scars we’ve inflicted on the land and ourselves in order to mine diamonds has cast a shadow that still lingers over the industry.

    Some diamond seekers, however, say we don’t need to scour the Earth any longer, because science now offers an alternative: diamonds grown in labs. These gems aren’t simulants or synthetic substitutes; they are optically, chemically, and physically identical to their Earth-mined counterparts. They’re also cheaper, and in theory, limitless. The arrival of lab-grown diamonds has rocked the jewelry world to its core and prompted fierce pushback from diamond miners. Claims abound on both sides.

    Growers often say that their diamonds are sustainable and ethical; miners and their industry allies counter that only gems plucked from the Earth can be considered “real” or “precious.” Some of these assertions are subjective, others are supported only by sparse, self-reported, or industry-backed data. But that’s not stopping everyone from making them.

    This is a fight over image, and when it comes to diamonds, image is everything.
    A variety of cut, polished Ada Diamonds created in a lab, including smaller melee stones and large center stones. 22.94 carats total. (2.60 ct. pear, 2.01 ct. asscher, 2.23 ct. cushion, 3.01 ct. radiant, 1.74 ct. princess, 2.11 ct. emerald, 3.11 ct. heart, 3.00 ct. oval, 3.13 ct. round.)
    Image: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Same, but different

    The dream of lab-grown diamond dates back over a century. In 1911, science fiction author H.G. Wells described what would essentially become one of the key methods for making diamond—recreating the conditions inside Earth’s mantle on its surface—in his short story The Diamond Maker. As the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) notes, there were a handful of dubious attempts to create diamonds in labs in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the first commercial diamond production wouldn’t emerge until the mid-1950s, when scientists with General Electric worked out a method for creating small, brown stones. Others, including De Beers, soon developed their own methods for synthesizing the gems, and use of the lab-created diamond in industrial applications, from cutting tools to high power electronics, took off.

    According to the GIA’s James Shigley, the first experimental production of gem-quality diamond occurred in 1970. Yet by the early 2000s, gem-quality stones were still small, and often tinted yellow with impurities. It was only in the last five or so years that methods for growing diamonds advanced to the point that producers began churning out large, colorless stones consistently. That’s when the jewelry sector began to take a real interest.

    Today, that sector is taking off. The International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), a trade group formed in 2016 by a dozen lab diamond growers and sellers, now has about 50 members, according to IGDA secretary general Dick Garard. When the IGDA first formed, lab-grown diamonds were estimated to represent about 1 percent of a $14 billion rough diamond market. This year, industry analyst Paul Zimnisky estimates they account for 2-3 percent of the market.

    He expects that share will only continue to grow as factories in China that already produce millions of carats a year for industrial purposes start to see an opportunity in jewelry.
    “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not.”

    “This year some [factories] will come up from 100,000 gem-quality diamonds to one to two million,” Zimnisky said. “They already have the infrastructure and equipment in place” and are in the process of upgrading it. (About 150 million carats of diamonds were mined last year, according to a global analysis of the industry conducted by Bain & Company.)

    Production ramp-up aside, 2018 saw some other major developments across the industry. In the summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reversed decades of guidance when it expanded the definition of a diamond to include those created in labs and dropped ‘synthetic’ as a recommended descriptor for lab-grown stones. The decision came on the heels of the world’s top diamond producer, De Beers, announcing the launch of its own lab-grown diamond line, Lightbox, after having once vowed never to sell man-made stones as jewelry.

    “I would say shock,” Lightbox Chief Marketing Officer Sally Morrison told Earther when asked how the jewelry world responded to the company’s launch.

    While the majority of lab-grown diamonds on the market today are what’s known as melee (less than 0.18 carats), the tech for producing the biggest, most dazzling diamonds continues to improve. In 2016, lab-grown diamond company MiaDonna announced its partners had grown a 6.28 carat gem-quality diamond, claimed to be the largest created in the U.S. to that point. In 2017, a lab in Augsburg University, Germany that grows diamonds for industrial and scientific research applications produced what is thought to be the largest lab-grown diamond ever—a 155 carat behemoth that stretches nearly 4 inches across. Not gem quality, perhaps, but still impressive.

    “If you compare it with the Queen’s diamond, hers is four times heavier, it’s clearer” physicist Matthias Schreck, who leads the group that grew that beast of a jewel, told me. “But in area, our diamond is bigger. We were very proud of this.”

    Diamonds can be created in one of two ways: Similar to how they form inside the Earth, or similar to how scientists speculate they might form in outer space.

    The older, Earth-inspired method is known as “high temperature high pressure” (HPHT), and that’s exactly what it sounds like. A carbon source, like graphite, is placed in a giant, mechanical press where, in the presence of a catalyst, it’s subjected to temperatures of around 1,600 degrees Celsius and pressures of 5-6 Gigapascals in order to form diamond. (If you’re curious what that sort of pressure feels like, the GIA describes it as similar to the force exerted if you tried to balance a commercial jet on your fingertip.)

    The newer method, called chemical vapor deposition (CVD), is more akin to how diamonds might form in interstellar gas clouds (for which we have indirect, spectroscopic evidence, according to Shigley). A hydrocarbon gas, like methane, is pumped into a low-pressure reactor vessel alongside hydrogen. While maintaining near-vacuum conditions, the gases are heated very hot—typically 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius, according to Lightbox CEO Steve Coe—causing carbon atoms to break free of their molecular bonds. Under the right conditions, those liberated bits of carbon will settle out onto a substrate—typically a flat, square plate of a synthetic diamond produced with the HPHT method—forming layer upon layer of diamond.

    “It’s like snow falling on a table on your back porch,” Jason Payne, the founder and CEO of lab-grown diamond jewelry company Ada Diamonds, told me.

    Scientists have been forging gem-quality diamonds with HPHT for longer, but today, CVD has become the method of choice for those selling larger bridal stones. That’s in part because it’s easier to control impurities and make diamonds with very high clarity, according to Coe. Still, each method has its advantages—Payne said that HPHT is faster and the diamonds typically have better color (which is to say, less of it)—and some companies, like Ada, purchase stones grown in both ways.

    However they’re made, lab-grown diamonds have the same exceptional hardness, stiffness, and thermal conductivity as their Earth-mined counterparts. Cut, they can dazzle with the same brilliance and fire—a technical term to describe how well the diamond scatters light like a prism. The GIA even grades them according to the same 4Cs—cut, clarity, color, and carat—that gemologists use to assess diamonds formed in the Earth, although it uses a slightly different terminology to report the color and clarity grades for lab-grown stones.

    They’re so similar, in fact, that lab-grown diamond entering the larger diamond supply without any disclosures has become a major concern across the jewelry industry, particularly when it comes to melee stones from Asia. It’s something major retailers are now investing thousands of dollars in sophisticated detection equipment to suss out by searching for minute differences in, say, their crystal shape or for impurities like nitrogen (much less common in lab-grown diamond, according to Shigley).

    Those differences may be a lifeline for retailers hoping to weed out lab-grown diamonds, but for companies focused on them, they can become another selling point. The lack of nitrogen in diamonds produced with the CVD method, for instance, gives them an exceptional chemical purity that allows them to be classified as type IIa; a rare and coveted breed that accounts for just 2 percent of those found in nature. Meanwhile, the ability to control everything about the growth process allows companies like Lightbox to adjust the formula and produce incredibly rare blue and pink diamonds as part of their standard product line. (In fact, these colored gemstones have made up over half of the company’s sales since launch, according to Coe.)

    And while lab-grown diamonds boast the same sparkle as their Earthly counterparts, they do so at a significant discount. Zimnisky said that today, your typical one carat, medium quality diamond grown in a lab will sell for about $3,600, compared with $6,100 for its Earth-mined counterpart—a discount of about 40 percent. Two years ago, that discount was only 18 percent. And while the price drop has “slightly tapered off” as Zimnisky put it, he expects it will fall further thanks in part to the aforementioned ramp up in Chinese production, as well as technological improvements. (The market is also shifting in response to Lightbox, which De Beers is using to position lab-grown diamonds as mass produced items for fashion jewelry, and which is selling its stones, ungraded, at the controversial low price of $800 per carat—a discount of nearly 90 percent.)

    Zimnisky said that if the price falls too fast, it could devalue lab-grown diamonds in the eyes of consumers. But for now, at least, paying less seems to be a selling point. A 2018 consumer research survey by MVI Marketing found that most of those polled would choose a larger lab-grown diamond over a smaller mined diamond of the same price.

    “The thing [consumers] seem most compelled by is the ability to trade up in size and quality at the same price,” Garard of IGDA said.

    Still, for buyers and sellers alike, price is only part of the story. Many in the lab-grown diamond world market their product as an ethical or eco-friendly alternative to mined diamonds.

    But those sales pitches aren’t without controversy.
    A variety of lab-grown diamond products arrayed on a desk at Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan. The stone in the upper left gets its blue color from boron. Diamonds tinted yellow (top center) usually get their color from small amounts of nitrogen.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Dazzling promises

    As Anna-Mieke Anderson tells it, she didn’t enter the diamond world to become a corporate tycoon. She did it to try and fix a mistake.

    In 1999, Anderson purchased herself a diamond. Some years later, in 2005, her father asked her where it came from. Nonplussed, she told him it came from the jewelry store. But that wasn’t what he was asking: He wanted to know where it really came from.

    “I actually had no idea,” Anderson told Earther. “That led me to do a mountain of research.”

    That research eventually led Anderson to conclude that she had likely bought a diamond mined under horrific conditions. She couldn’t be sure, because the certificate of purchase included no place of origin. But around the time of her purchase, civil wars funded by diamond mining were raging across Angola, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia, fueling “widespread devastation” as Global Witness put it in 2006. At the height of the diamond wars in the late ‘90s, the watchdog group estimates that as many as 15 percent of diamonds entering the market were conflict diamonds. Even those that weren’t actively fueling a war were often being mined in dirty, hazardous conditions; sometimes by children.

    “I couldn’t believe I’d bought into this,” Anderson said.

    To try and set things right, Anderson began sponsoring a boy living in a Liberian community impacted by the blood diamond trade. The experience was so eye-opening, she says, that she eventually felt compelled to sponsor more children. Selling conflict-free jewelry seemed like a fitting way to raise money to do so, but after a great deal more research, Anderson decided she couldn’t in good faith consider any diamond pulled from the Earth to be truly conflict-free in either the humanitarian or environmental sense. While diamond miners were, by the early 2000s, getting their gems certified “conflict free” according to the UN-backed Kimberley Process, the certification scheme’s definition of a conflict diamond—one sold by rebel groups to finance armed conflicts against governments—felt far too narrow.

    “That [conflict definition] eliminates anything to do with the environment, or eliminates a child mining it, or someone who was a slave, or beaten, or raped,” Anderson said.

    And so she started looking into science, and in 2007, launching MiaDonna as one of the world’s first lab-grown diamond jewelry companies. The business has been activism-oriented from the get-go, with at least five percent of its annual earnings—and more than 20 percent for the last three years—going into The Greener Diamond, Anderson’s charity foundation which has funded a wide range of projects, from training former child soldiers in Sierra Leone to grow food to sponsoring kids orphaned by the West African Ebola outbreak.

    MiaDonna isn’t the only company that positions itself as an ethical alternative to the traditional diamond industry. Brilliant Earth, which sells what it says are carefully-sourced mined and lab-created diamonds, also donates a small portion of its profits to supporting mining communities. Other lab-grown diamond companies market themselves as “ethical,” “conflict-free,” or “world positive.” Payne of Ada Diamonds sees, in lab-grown diamonds, not just shiny baubles, but a potential to improve medicine, clean up pollution, and advance society in countless other ways—and he thinks the growing interest in lab-grown diamond jewelry will help propel us toward that future.

    Others, however, say black-and-white characterizations when it comes to social impact of mined diamonds versus lab-grown stones are unfair. “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not,” Estelle Levin-Nally, founder and CEO of Levin Sources, which advocates for better governance in the mining sector, told Earther. “I think it’s always about your politics. And ethics are subjective.”

    Saleem Ali, an environmental researcher at the University of Delaware who serves on the board of the Diamonds and Development Initiative, agrees. He says the mining industry has, on the whole, worked hard to turn itself around since the height of the diamond wars and that governance is “much better today” than it used to be. Human rights watchdog Global Witness also says that “significant progress” has been made to curb the conflict diamond trade, although as Alice Harle, Senior Campaigner with Global Witness told Earther via email, diamonds do still fuel conflict, particularly in the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe.

    Most industry observers seems to agree that the Kimberley Process is outdated and inadequate, and that more work is needed to stamp out other abuses, including child labor and forced labor, in the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining sector. Today, large-scale mining operations don’t tend to see these kinds of problems, according to Julianne Kippenberg, associate director for children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, but she notes that there may be other community impacts surrounding land rights and forced resettlement.

    The flip side, Ali and Levin-Nally say, is that well-regulated mining operations can be an important source of economic development and livelihood. Ali cites Botswana and Russia as prime examples of places where large-scale mining operations have become “major contributors to the economy.” Dmitry Amelkin, head of strategic projects and analytics for Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa, echoed that sentiment in an email to Earther, noting that diamonds transformed Botswana “from one of the poorest [countries] in the world to a middle-income country” with revenues from mining representing almost a third of its GDP.

    In May, a report commissioned by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), a trade organization representing the world’s largest diamond mining companies, estimated that worldwide, its members generate nearly $4 billion in direct revenue for employees and contractors, along with another $6.8 billion in benefits via “local procurement of goods and services.” DPA CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr said this was a story diamond miners need to do a better job telling.

    “The industry has undergone such changes since the Blood Diamond movie,” he said, referring to the blockbuster 2006 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio that drew global attention to the problem of conflict diamonds. “And yet people’s’ perceptions haven’t evolved. I think the main reason is we have not had a voice, we haven’t communicated.”

    But conflict and human rights abuses aren’t the only issues that have plagued the diamond industry. There’s also the lasting environmental impact of the mining itself. In the case of large-scale commercial mines, this typically entails using heavy machinery and explosives to bore deep into those kimberlite tubes in search of precious stones.

    Some, like Maya Koplyova, a geologist at the University of British Columbia who studies diamonds and the rocks they’re found in, see this as far better than many other forms of mining. “The environmental footprint is the fThere’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.” ootprint of digging the hole in the ground and crushing [the rock],” Koplyova said, noting that there’s no need to add strong acids or heavy metals like arsenic (used in gold mining) to liberate the gems.

    Still, those holes can be enormous. The Mir Mine, a now-abandoned open pit mine in Eastern Siberia, is so large—reportedly stretching 3,900 feet across and 1,700 feet deep—that the Russian government has declared it a no-fly zone owing to the pit’s ability to create dangerous air currents. It’s visible from space.

    While companies will often rehabilitate other land to offset the impact of mines, kimberlite mining itself typically leaves “a permanent dent in the earth’s surface,” as a 2014 report by market research company Frost & Sullivan put it.

    “It’s a huge impact as far as I’m concerned,” said Kevin Krajick, senior editor for science news at Columbia University’s Earth Institute who wrote a book on the discovery of diamonds in far northern Canada. Krajick noted that in remote mines, like those of the far north, it’s not just the physical hole to consider, but all the development required to reach a previously-untouched area, including roads and airstrips, roaring jets and diesel-powered trucks.

    Diamonds grown in factories clearly have a smaller physical footprint. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, they also use less water and create less waste. It’s for these reasons that Ali thinks diamond mining “will never be able to compete” with lab-grown diamonds from an environmental perspective.

    “The mining industry should not even by trying to do that,” he said.

    Of course, this is capitalism, so try to compete is exactly what the DPA is now doing. That same recent report that touted the mining industry’s economic benefits also asserts that mined diamonds have a carbon footprint three times lower than that of lab-grown diamonds, on average. The numbers behind that conclusion, however, don’t tell the full story.

    Growing diamonds does take considerable energy. The exact amount can vary greatly, however, depending on the specific nature of the growth process. These are details manufacturers are typically loathe to disclose, but Payne of Ada Diamonds says he estimates the most efficient players in the game today use about 250 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity per cut, polished carat of diamond; roughly what a U.S. household consumes in 9 days. Other estimates run higher. Citing unnamed sources, industry publication JCK Online reported that a modern HPHT run can use up to 700 kWh per carat, while CVD production can clock in north of 1,000 kWh per carat.

    Pulling these and several other public-record estimates, along with information on where in the world today’s lab diamonds are being grown and the energy mix powering the producer nations’ electric grids, the DPA-commissioned study estimated that your typical lab-grown diamond results in some 511 kg of carbon emissions per cut, polished carat. Using information provided by mining companies on fuel and electricity consumption, along with other greenhouse gas sources on the mine site, it found that the average mined carat was responsible for just 160 kg of carbon emissions.

    One limitation here is that the carbon footprint estimate for mining focused only on diamond production, not the years of work entailed in developing a mine. As Ali noted, developing a mine can take a lot of energy, particularly for those sited in remote locales where equipment needs to be hauled long distances by trucks or aircraft.

    There’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.”

    #dimants #Afrique #technologie #capitalisme

  • New #Ebola outbreak in DRC is ’truly frightening’, says Wellcome Trust director - BBC News

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48615667

    The head of a major medical research charity has called the latest outbreak of Ebola in central Africa “truly frightening”.

    Nearly 1,400 people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Dr Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, said the epidemic was the worst since that of 2013-16 and has showed “no sign of stopping”.

    #rdc #santé

  • China plumbs ocean depths to extend its cobalt lead | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters
    https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL8N1XN6JD

    • Unclear how big reserves are or when they can be mined
    • Glencore holds small stake in ocean explorer DeepGreen
    • Anglo American sold stake in Nautilus
    • Environmentalists seek strict rules

    China, the leading holder of international deep sea exploration licences, has increased its lead in the race for alternative sources of battery minerals by taking samples from cobalt-bearing mountains deep in the Pacific.

    The cobalt-rich crusts could one day curb the world’s dependence on cobalt from Democratic Republic of Congo, but most companies say deep sea mining is a distant prospect.

    Maersk Supply Service, part of shipping company Maersk , is working with Canada’s DeepGreen to harvest metallic rocks from the ocean floor.

    It is a promising business area with the potential for significant future growth,” Maersk Supply Service said in an email. “Production is a few years away.

    Miner-trader Glencore has a stake in DeepGreen which would eventually give Glencore 50 percent of any copper and nickel output.

    Glencore declined to comment and DeepGreen had no immediate comment.

    So far only Canadian-listed firm Nautilus Minerals has gone beyond the exploration stage to try and mine off the coast of Papua New Guinea, for copper, gold and silver, but it been slowed by funding issues and local opposition.

    Anglo American sold its 4 percent stake in Nautilus in May, as part of efforts to retain only its most profitable assets.

    Nautilus this week agreed a $600,000 loan to shore up its balance sheet. It was not immediately available for further comment.

    While Nautilus wants to mine Papua New Guinea’s territorial waters, international waters are regulated by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), an agency set up by the United Nations to manage the seabed and protect the marine environment.

    China, is in pole position in international waters as the holder of four of the 29 deep sea ISA exploration contracts granted so far, more than any other nation.

    Along with Glencore, the country already dominates world cobalt supplies, mostly from the politically volatile Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • #Angola : Les migrants africains en danger de mort

    Les autorités angolaises lancent « la chasse aux ressortissants sub-sahariens en situation irrégulière ». Une #opération dénommée « #expatriado » est en cours en ce moment. Elle vise à « expulser tous les immigrés en situation irrégulière en Angola ». Des ressortissants maliens témoignent des « cas d’#emprisonnement suivis de pires formes de #maltraitance et d’#humiliation ». Pour l’instant, difficile d’avoir des chiffres officiels sur le nombre de Maliens victimes. Mais ceux joints sur place appellent à l’aide des autorités maliennes.

    Selon certains Maliens, ces opérations d’expulsion ont débuté dans les zones minières. Elles se déroulent maintenant dans toutes les villes du pays, et concernent toutes les nationalités y compris les Maliens, qui sont parmi les plus nombreux. « Cela fait des jours que nous ne pouvons plus sortir pour aller au boulot par peur de nous faire arrêter », explique un ressortissant malien sur place. Selon lui, cette opération qui ne devrait concerner que les #sans-papiers, est aussi menée par les forces de l’ordre angolaises contre ceux qui sont en situation régulière. L’objectif, selon notre interlocuteur, est de soutirer de l’argent aux migrants.

    « Une fois entre les mains des autorités angolaises, il faut payer de l’argent ou partir en prison », témoignent certains migrants maliens, avant de confirmer que plusieurs d’entre eux sont actuellement en prison. En Angola certains Maliens ont l’impression d’être « laissés pour compte par les autorités maliennes ». Pour l’Association Malienne des Expulsés, « il est inacceptable qu’un pays membre de l’Union Africaine expulse d’autres africains de la sorte ». L’AME qui juge la situation « grave » en Angola, appelle les autorités maliennes à réagir.

    https://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Angola-Les-migrants-africains-en-danger-de-mort.html
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #rafles #expulsions #renvois #chasse_aux_migrants #migrants_maliens

    • Briefing: Problems multiply in Congo’s Kasaï

      The Kasaï region in the Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to recover from two years of intense conflict. The influx last month of more than 300,000 people from Angola, most of them long-standing migrant workers, has made a fragile humanitarian situation worse.

      Here’s our briefing on the risks for the region and the new challenges for the humanitarian response.
      What happened?

      In attempts to clamp down on what it called illegal diamond mining operations, Angola’s government ordered the expulsion of more than 360,000 Congolese nationals, forcing them to flee in October into the Kasaï region of neighbouring DRC.

      "This new shock is compounding an already dire situation in the same area that was the epicentre of the Kasaï crisis over the last couple of years,” explained Dan Schreiber, head of coordination in Congo for the UN’s emergency aid body, OCHA.

      Congolese migrants and officials said the crackdown was violent, telling Reuters that dozens of people were killed, with the worst attacks occurring in Lucapa in Angola’s diamond-rich Lunda Norte province. Angolan security forces denied the allegations.
      Where did they go?

      Most of those expelled crossed into Kamako in Kasaï province, where aid organisations are responding to the tail-end of the Kamuina Nsapu insurgency that first erupted in 2016. Some of the returnees include refugees who fled violence in Kasaï over the last two years, the Norwegian Refugee Council said.

      The NRC said conditions returnees face in Congo are “shocking”, including the risk of waterborne disease due to ineffective water and sanitation; thousands sleeping outdoors because of insufficient shelter; food prices tripling; and extortion of goods on both sides of the border.

      “Hundreds of thousands of people have been robbed of their right to a dignified existence,” said Ulrika Blom, NRC’s country director in DRC. “This is not a crisis that is about to begin, it is a full-blown emergency.”
      What has the reaction been?

      While local communities have generally been welcoming to the returnees, OCHA’s Schreiber said skirmishes erupted in certain villages, mainly over the strain on limited food resources.

      “Experience in the DRC does show that when you have a large influx of people arriving in an area it can generate tensions between host communities and the people who arrive,” he said.

      Schreiber said OCHA has seen most returnees wanting to move away from the border areas and toward other destinations inland, which could help ease the humanitarian strain in Kasaï, but he also warned that more returnees could arrive from Angola.

      “We don’t expect the first wave to be the last wave,” he said. “Expulsions from Angola are a cyclical phenomena that go all the way back to 2002-2003. It’s not a new phenomenon, but in this case we are seeing a major influx, and clearly the absorption capacity is not there.”
      Why is their arrival in Kasaï in particular such a problem?

      Kasaï was a relatively stable region in an unstable country – one currently dealing with multiple conflicts, an Ebola outbreak in North Kivu province, and one of the world’s most neglected displacement crises.

      The situation in Kasaï changed dramatically in 2016 when conflict erupted between the Kamuina Nsapu anti-government movement and Congolese security forces. The inter-communal clashes spread far and wide, soon engulfing the entire region.

      The conflict escalated in 2017, with massacres and mass graves, as well as general insecurity marked by banditry, and poor harvests that led to food insecurity and malnutrition.

      An estimated 5,000 people have since been killed and more than 1.4 million displaced.

      Toward the end of 2017 and into 2018, the crisis eased slightly, as national authorities regained control over large parts of the region. Despite isolated bouts of violence, aid groups say most militias have been formally disbanded and displaced communities are tentatively returning home.

      “But those returns are accompanied by many needs, because people are returning to burned villages, destroyed homes, and a lot of destruction,” said OCHA’s Schreiber.

      Two years of violence and displacement also mean locals have been unable to grow crops for three seasons, which has led to concerns over malnutrition. “We have really seen food insecurity skyrocket. So even in areas where returns have occurred, humanitarian needs have not come to an end,” Schreiber added.
      What are the risks?

      Although the current influx of people from Angola isn’t directly linked to the Kamuina Nsapu rebellion, aid groups are concerned about the implications of piling one problem on top of another in the same geographic area.

      For the most vulnerable groups, specifically women and children, the challenges that affect those displaced by the insurgency also pose risks for the new returnees from Angola.

      In May for instance, UNICEF reported that 400,000 children were “at risk of death” in the Kasaïs, because of food shortages.

      Yves Willemot, a spokesman for UNICEF in Congo, said the rate of severe acute malnutrition among children living in the region has improved slightly since earlier this year but “remains challenging”.

      “The security situation has clearly improved, but the impact on children is not ending in the short term,” he said.

      Among those newly returned from Angola are 80,000 children. They now are also at risk, forced to walk long distances while exposed to inclement weather, hunger, and the threat of violence. Willemot said basic services are lacking for them, including access to drinking water, schooling, and treatment for diseases like malaria and measles.

      Médecins Sans Frontières is among the NGOs initiating primary healthcare services for the recent arrivals, while also continuing interventions to assist the local population.

      In a recent report, MSF documented alarming levels of rape in the Kasaï region, saying it treated 2,600 victims of sexual violence between May 2017 and September 2018; 80 percent of those interviewed said armed men raped them.

      “The sexual violence committed in Kasaï was perpetrated largely by armed groups against non-armed people,” Philippe Kadima, MSF’s humanitarian advisor for the Great Lakes region, told IRIN. “Although the main conflict is over, we still see some violence happening in Kasaï.”

      For the more than 300,000 returnees, he said there are clear humanitarian concerns, but also the risk of insecurity. “The question is, how do you keep people secure?”

      “Displaced people become vulnerable, so it’s not that different to what the existing IDPs in Kasaï are going through… Security concerns, humanitarian needs, and risks of sexual violence are all factors when people become vulnerable,” he said.
      What about the longer-term challenges?

      Humanitarian needs remain critically underfunded in the Kasai region, said OCHA’s Shreiber, emphasising that beyond the immediate concerns are much broader needs in the region and the DRC as a whole.

      He added that the humanitarian response must help minimise the long-term impact of the crisis on those affected.

      “The longer we remain in this critical phase, the more we can expect to see humanitarian needs spiral out of control,” he said. “The current trigger of new humanitarian needs (the returnees from Angola) may be time-bound, but I think the impact will be lasting.”

      Schreiber said the Kasaï region remains vulnerable because it faces particular challenges, including decades of underdevelopment and inaccessibility as a result of poor road infrastructure, and he urged more development actors to get involved.

      “People in the Kasaïs are eager to rebound, to be back on their feet, and move on. There is no expectation that humanitarian assistance should continue forever in the Kasaï region,” he said. “People want to be autonomous, but what they need is support to build up their resilience and be able to move towards a situation where their most basic needs are met and they are able to think about their futures again.”


      http://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/11/08/briefing-congo-kasai-angola-aid-conflict

    • Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Depuis un certain moment, la communauté africaine vivant sur le territoire angolais est l’objet de toute sorte de violation de ses droits les plus fondamentaux par les autorités de ce pays. La Charte Africaines des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples protège les droits des migrants dans tous ses aspects contre les violations des droits et l’Angola est justement membre de l’Union Africaine. Ainsi, ces violations se matérialisent par des arrestations musclées et arbitraires, des emprisonnements dans des conditions inhumaines et dégradantes (art.5 de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme et de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples) de même que les expulsions collectives pourtant interdites par la Charte Africaine dans son article 12.5.

      L’AME est vivement préoccupée par les récentes arrestations, détentions et expulsions des centaines de milliers de migrants africains dont des maliens. Selon des informations recueillies auprès de nos sources sur place, une centaine de maliens sont concernés par cette situation qui évolue et change de jour en jour.

      Nous attirons l’attention de l’Union Africaine et de ses pays membres sur la situation inacceptable que vivent les étrangers sur la terre africaine d’Angola et rappeler que les droits de l’homme sont des droits inaliénables de tous les êtres humains, quels que soient leur nationalité, leur lieu de résidence, leur sexe, leur origine ethnique ou nationale, leur couleur, leur religion…

      L’Angola comme la plupart des pays africains s’est engagé à protéger, respecter et réaliser les droits de l’homme, non seulement de ses nationaux, mais de toute personne sous sa juridiction. Dans ce contexte, tous les étrangers se trouvant sur le sol angolais auraient dû bénéficier de la protection des autorités angolaises quelque soient les raisons qu’elles mettent en avant pour justifier ces expulsions.

      L’Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) n’est pas resté silencieuse comme la plupart des pays africains, le Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme a mis en garde sur les conséquences des expulsions massives de réfugiés depuis l’Angola, au cours des trois dernières semaines de ce mois d’octobre.

      Par ailleurs, le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies a rappelé le 19 septembre 2017 que : « tout pays a le droit de contrôler ses frontières. Mais cela doit se faire de telle sorte que les droits des personnes ‘en mouvement’ soient protégés ».

      Au regard de tout ce qui vient d’être évoqué :
      1. L’Association Malienne des Expulsés (AME) pour sa part, exhorte le gouvernement Malien à tout mettre en œuvre pour la sécurisation de nos compatriotes et de leurs biens dans les pays d’accueil ;
      2. Appelle le gouvernement à communiquer davantage sur cette situation en donnant beaucoup plus d’informations aux familles des maliens vivants en Angola ;
      3. Encourage le gouvernement de continuer à œuvrer pour le respect des droits des migrants maliens et aussi pour le développement d’une relation franche entre les Etats africains en vue de la réalisation de l’unité africaine comme le prévoit l’article 117 de la Constitution ;
      4. Invite l’Union Africaine à dénoncer et prendre des mesures contre les violations des droits humains dans les pays membres ;
      5. Invite également les Etats membres de l’Union Africaine à renoncer aux expulsions massives des ressortissants d’autres pays africains et à mettre fin sans délais aux opérations actuelles en cour ;
      6. Exhorte l’U.A et les Etats à une plus grande implication des organisations de la société civile aux différents processus pour la gestion de la migration.

      http://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Les-violations-des-droits-humains-des-migrants-africains-en-Angola

  • Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward

    Uganda’s refugee policy urgently needs an honest discussion, if sustainable solutions for both refugees and host communities are to be found, a new policy paper by International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) reveals.

    The paper, entitled Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward puts the “Ugandan model” in its historical and political context, shines a spotlight on its implementation gaps, and proposes recommendations for the way forward.

    Uganda has since 2013 opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan, bringing the total number of refugees to more than one million. It has been praised for its positive steps on freedom of movement and access to work for refugees, going against the global grain. But generations of policy, this paper shows, have only entrenched the sole focus on refugee settlements and on repatriation as the only viable durable solution. Support to urban refugees and local integration have been largely overlooked.

    The Ugandan refugee crisis unfolded at the same time as the UN adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and states committed to implement a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Uganda immediately seized this opportunity and adopted its own strategy to implement these principles. As the world looks to Uganda for best practices in refugee policy, and rightly so, it is vital to understand the gaps between rhetoric and reality, and the pitfalls of Uganda’s policy. This paper identifies the following challenges:

    There is a danger that the promotion of progressive refugee policies becomes more rhetoric than reality, creating a smoke-screen that squeezes out meaningful discussion about robust alternatives. Policy-making has come at the expense of real qualitative change on the ground.
    Refugees in urban areas continue to be largely excluded from any support due to an ongoing focus on refugee settlements, including through aid provision
    Local integration and access to citizenship have been virtually abandoned, leaving voluntary repatriation as the only solution on the table. Given the protracted crises in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, this remains unrealistic.
    Host communities remain unheard, with policy conversations largely taking place in Kampala and Geneva. Many Ugandans and refugees have neither the economic resources nor sufficient political leverage to influence the policies that are meant to benefit them.

    The policy paper proposes a number of recommendations to improve the Ugandan refugee model:

    First, international donors need to deliver on their promise of significant financial support.
    Second, repatriation cannot remain the only serious option on the table. There has to be renewed discussion on local integration with Uganda communities and a dramatic increase in resettlement to wealthier states across the globe.
    Third, local communities hosting refugees must be consulted and their voices incorporated in a more meaningful and systematic way, if tensions within and between communities are to be avoided.
    Fourth, in order to genuinely enhance refugee self-reliance, the myth of the “local settlement” needs to be debunked and recognized for what it is: the ongoing isolation of refugees and the utilization of humanitarian assistance to keep them isolated and dependent on aid.


    http://refugee-rights.org/uganda-refugee-policies-the-history-the-politics-the-way-forward
    #modèle_ougandais #Ouganda #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    Pour télécharger le #rapport:
    http://refugee-rights.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/IRRI-Uganda-policy-paper-October-2018-Paper.pdf

    • A New Deal for Refugees

      Global policies that aim to resettle and integrate displaced populations into local societies is providing a way forward.

      For many years now, groups that work with refugees have fought to put an end to the refugee camp. It’s finally starting to happen.

      Camps are a reasonable solution to temporary dislocation. But refugee crises can go on for decades. Millions of refugees have lived in their country of shelter for more than 30 years. Two-thirds of humanitarian assistance — intended for emergencies — is spent on crises that are more than eight years old.

      Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle. “You keep people for 20 years in camps — don’t expect the next generation to be problem-free,” said Xavier Devictor, who advises the World Bank on refugee issues. “Keeping people in those conditions is not a good idea.” It’s also hard to imagine a better breeding ground for terrorists.

      “As long as the system is ‘we feed you,’ it’s always going to be too expensive for the international community to pay for,” Mr. Devictor said. It’s gotten more and more difficult for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise that money; in many crises, the refugee agency can barely keep people from starving. It’s even harder now as nations turn against foreigners — even as the number of people fleeing war and violence has reached a record high.

      At the end of last year, nearly 70 million people were either internally displaced in their own countries, or had crossed a border and become a refugee. That is the largest number of displaced in history — yes, more than at the end of World War II. The vast majority flee to neighboring countries — which can be just as badly off.

      Last year, the United States accepted about 30,000 refugees.

      Uganda, which is a global model for how it treats refugees, has one-seventh of America’s population and a tiny fraction of the wealth. Yet it took in 1,800 refugees per day between mid-2016 and mid-2017 from South Sudan alone. And that’s one of four neighbors whose people take refuge in Uganda.

      Bangladesh, already the world’s most crowded major nation, has accepted more than a million Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. “If we can feed 160 million people, then (feeding) another 500,00-700,000 …. We can do it. We can share our food,” Shiekh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, said last year.

      Lebanon is host to approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees, in addition to a half-million Palestinians, some of whom have been there for generations. One in three residents of Lebanon is a refugee.

      The refugee burden falls heavily on a few, poor countries, some of them at risk of destabilization, which can in turn produce more refugees. The rest of the world has been unwilling to share that burden.

      But something happened that could lead to real change: Beginning in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees crossed the Mediterranean in small boats and life rafts into Europe.

      Suddenly, wealthy European countries got interested in fixing a broken system: making it more financially viable, more dignified for refugees, and more palatable for host governments and communities.

      In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution stating that all countries shared the responsibility of protecting refugees and supporting host countries. It also laid out a plan to move refugees out of camps into normal lives in their host nations.

      Donor countries agreed they would take more refugees and provide more long-term development aid to host countries: schools, hospitals, roads and job-creation measures that can help both refugees and the communities they settle in. “It looked at refugee crises as development opportunities, rather than a humanitarian risk to be managed,” said Marcus Skinner, a policy adviser at the International Rescue Committee.

      The General Assembly will vote on the specifics next month (whatever they come up with won’t be binding). The Trump administration pulled out of the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration, but so far it has not opposed the refugee agreement.

      There’s a reason refugee camps exist: Host governments like them. Liberating refugees is a hard sell. In camps, refugees are the United Nations’ problem. Out of camps, refugees are the local governments’ problem. And they don’t want to do anything to make refugees comfortable or welcome.

      Bangladesh’s emergency response for the Rohingya has been staggeringly generous. But “emergency” is the key word. The government has resisted granting Rohingya schooling, work permits or free movement. It is telling Rohingya, in effect, “Don’t get any ideas about sticking around.”

      This attitude won’t deter the Rohingya from coming, and it won’t send them home more quickly. People flee across the closest border — often on foot — that allows them to keep their families alive. And they’ll stay until home becomes safe again. “It’s the simple practicality of finding the easiest way to refuge,” said Victor Odero, regional advocacy coordinator for East Africa and the Horn of Africa at the International Rescue Committee. “Any question of policies is a secondary matter.”

      So far, efforts to integrate refugees have had mixed success. The first experiment was a deal for Jordan, which was hosting 650,000 Syrian refugees, virtually none of whom were allowed to work. Jordan agreed to give them work permits. In exchange, it got grants, loans and trade concessions normally available only to the poorest countries.

      However, though the refugees have work permits, Jordan has put only a moderate number of them into jobs.

      Any agreement should include the views of refugees from the start — the Jordan Compact failed to do this. Aid should be conditioned upon the right things. The deal should have measured refugee jobs, instead of work permits. Analysts also said the benefits should have been targeted more precisely, to reach the areas with most refugees.

      To spread this kind of agreement to other nations, the World Bank established a $2 billion fund in July 2017. The money is available to very poor countries that host many refugees, such as Uganda and Bangladesh. In return, they must take steps to integrate refugees into society. The money will come as grants and zero interest loans with a 10-year grace period. Middle-income countries like Lebanon and Colombia would also be eligible for loans at favorable rates under a different fund.

      Over the last 50 years, only one developing country has granted refugees full rights. In Uganda, refugees can live normally. Instead of camps there are settlements, where refugees stay voluntarily because they get a plot of land. Refugees can work, live anywhere, send their children to school and use the local health services. The only thing they can’t do is become Ugandan citizens.

      Given the global hostility to refugees, it is remarkable that Ugandans still approve of these policies. “There have been flashes of social tension or violence between refugees and their hosts, mostly because of a scarcity of resources,” Mr. Odero said. “But they have not become widespread or protracted.”

      This is the model the United Nations wants the world to adopt. But it is imperiled even in Uganda — because it requires money that isn’t there.

      The new residents are mainly staying near the South Sudan border in Uganda’s north — one of the least developed parts of the country. Hospitals, schools, wells and roads were crumbling or nonexistent before, and now they must serve a million more people.

      Joël Boutroue, the head of the United Nations refugee agency in Uganda, said current humanitarian funding covered a quarter of what the crisis required. “At the moment, not even half of refugees go to primary school,” he said. “There are around 100 children per classroom.”

      Refugees are going without food, medical care and water. The plots of land they get have grown smaller and smaller.

      Uganda is doing everything right — except for a corruption scandal. It could really take advantage of the new plan to develop the refugee zone. That would not only help refugees, it would help their host communities. And it would alleviate growing opposition to rights for refugees. “The Ugandan government is under pressure from politicians who see the government giving favored treatment to refugees,” Mr. Boutroue said. “If we want to change the perception of refugees from recipients of aid to economic assets, we have to showcase that refugees bring development.”

      The World Bank has so far approved two projects — one for water and sanitation and one for city services such as roads and trash collection. But they haven’t gotten started yet.

      Mr. Devictor said that tackling long-term development issues was much slower than providing emergency aid. “The reality is that it will be confusing and confused for a little while,” he said. Water, for example, is trucked in to Uganda’s refugee settlements, as part of humanitarian aid. “That’s a huge cost,” he said. “But if we think this crisis is going to last for six more months, it makes sense. If it’s going to last longer, we should think about upgrading the water system.”

      Most refugee crises are not surprises, Mr. Devictor said. “If you look at a map, you can predict five or six crises that are going to produce refugees over the next few years.” It’s often the same places, over and over. That means developmental help could come in advance, minimizing the burden on the host. “Do we have to wait until people cross the border to realize we’re going to have an emergency?” he said.

      Well, we might. If politicians won’t respond to a crisis, it’s hard to imagine them deciding to plan ahead to avert one. Political commitment, or lack of it, always rules. The world’s new approach to refugees was born out of Europe’s panic about the Syrians on their doorstep. But no European politician is panicking about South Sudanese or Rohingya refugees — or most crises. They’re too far away. The danger is that the new approach will fall victim to the same political neglect that has crippled the old one.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/opinion/refugee-camps-integration.html

      #Ouganda #modèle_ougandais #réinstallation #intégration

      avec ce commentaire de #Jeff_Crisp sur twitter :

      “Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle.”
      Has this prizewinning author actually been to a refugee camp?

      https://twitter.com/JFCrisp/status/1031892657117831168

    • Appreciating Uganda’s ‘open door’ policy for refugees

      While the rest of the world is nervous and choosing to take an emotional position on matters of forced migration and refugees, sometimes closing their doors in the face of people who are running from persecution, Uganda’s refugee policy and practice continues to be liberal, with an open door to all asylum seekers, writes Arthur Matsiko

      http://thisisafrica.me/appreciating-ugandas-open-door-policy-refugees

    • Ouganda. La générosité intéressée du pays le plus ouvert du monde aux réfugiés

      L’Ouganda est le pays qui accueille le plus de réfugiés. Un million de Sud-Soudanais fuyant la guerre s’y sont installés. Mais cette noble intention des autorités cache aussi des calculs moins avouables : l’arrivée massive de l’aide internationale encourage l’inaction et la #corruption.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/ouganda-la-generosite-interessee-du-pays-le-plus-ouvert-du-mo

    • Refugees in Uganda to benefit from Dubai-funded schools but issues remain at crowded settlement

      Dubai Cares is building three classrooms in a primary school at Ayilo II but the refugee settlement lacks a steady water supply, food and secondary schools, Roberta Pennington writes from Adjumani


      https://www.thenational.ae/uae/refugees-in-uganda-to-benefit-from-dubai-funded-schools-but-issues-remai

    • FUGA DAL SUD SUDAN. LUIS, L’UGANDA E QUEL PEZZO DI TERRA DONATA AI PROFUGHI

      Luis zappa, prepara dei fori per tirare su una casa in attesa di ritrovare la sua famiglia. Il terreno è una certezza, glielo ha consegnato il Governo ugandese. Il poterci vivere con i suoi cari non ancora. L’ultima volta li ha visti in Sud Sudan. Nel ritornare a casa sua moglie e i suoi otto figli non c’erano più. É sicuro si siano messi in cammino verso l’Uganda, così da quel giorno è iniziata la sua rincorsa. É certo che li ritroverà nella terra che ora lo ha accolto. Quella di Luis è una delle tante storie raccolte nei campi profughi del nord dell’Uganda, in una delle ultime missioni di Amref, in cui era presente anche Giusi Nicolini, già Sindaco di Lampedusa e Premio Unesco per la pace. 



      Modello Uganda? Dell’Uganda il mondo dice «campione di accoglienza». Accoglienza che sta sperimentando da mesi nei confronti dei profughi sud sudanesi, che scappano da uno dei Paesi più drammaticamente in crisi al mondo. Sono 4 milioni le persone che in Sud Sudan hanno dovuto lasciare le proprie case. Chi muovendosi verso altri Paesi e chi in altre regioni sud sudanesi. In questi ultimi tempi arrivano in Uganda anche persone che fuggono dalla Rep. Democratica del Congo.

      https://www.amref.it/2018_02_23_Fuga_dal_Sud_Sudan_Luis_lUganda_e_quel_pezzo_di_terra_donata_ai_pro

    • As Rich Nations Close the Door on Refugees, Uganda Welcomes Them

      President Trump is vowing to send the military to stop migrants trudging from Central America. Europe’s leaders are paying African nations to block migrants from crossing the Mediterranean — and detaining the ones who make it in filthy, overcrowded camps.

      But Solomon Osakan has a very different approach in this era of rising xenophobia. From his uncluttered desk in northwest Uganda, he manages one of the largest concentrations of refugees anywhere in the world: more than 400,000 people scattered across his rural district.

      He explained what he does with them: Refugees are allotted some land — enough to build a little house, do a little farming and “be self-sufficient,” said Mr. Osakan, a Ugandan civil servant. Here, he added, the refugees live in settlements, not camps — with no barbed wire, and no guards in sight.

      “You are free, and you can come and go as you want,” Mr. Osakan added.

      As many nations are securing their borders and turning refugees away, Uganda keeps welcoming them. And they keep coming, fleeing catastrophes from across this part of Africa.

      In all, Uganda has as many as 1.25 million refugees on its soil, perhaps more, making it one of the most welcoming countries in the world, according to the United Nations.

      And while Uganda’s government has made hosting refugees a core national policy, it works only because of the willingness of rural Ugandans to accept an influx of foreigners on their land and shoulder a big part of the burden.

      Uganda is not doing this without help. About $200 million in humanitarian aid to the country this year will largely pay to feed and care for the refugees. But they need places to live and small plots to farm, so villages across the nation’s north have agreed to carve up their communally owned land and share it with the refugees, often for many years at a time.

      “Our population was very few and our community agreed to loan the land,” said Charles Azamuke, 27, of his village’s decision in 2016 to accept refugees from South Sudan, which has been torn apart by civil war. “We are happy to have these people. We call them our brothers.”

      United Nations officials have pointed to Uganda for its “open border” policy. While the United States, a much more populous nation, has admitted more than three million refugees since 1975, the American government settles them in the country after they have first been thoroughly screened overseas.

      By contrast, Uganda has essentially opened its borders to refugees, rarely turning anyone away.

      Some older Ugandans explain that they, too, had been refugees once, forced from their homes during dictatorship and war. And because the government ensures that spending on refugees benefits Ugandans as well, younger residents spoke of how refugees offered them some unexpected opportunities.

      “I was a farmer. I used to dig,” Mr. Azamuke said. But after learning Arabic from refugees from South Sudan, he got a better job — as a translator at a new health clinic that serves the newcomers.

      His town, Ofua, is bisected by a dirt road, with the Ugandans living on the uphill side and the South Sudanese on the downhill side. The grass-thatched homes of the Ugandans look a bit larger and sturdier, but not much.

      As the sun began to set one recent afternoon, a group of men on the Ugandan side began to pass around a large plastic bottle of waragi, a home brew. On the South Sudanese side, the men were sober, gathered around a card game.

      On both sides, the men had nothing but tolerant words for one another. “Actually, we don’t have any problems with these people,” said Martin Okuonzi, a Ugandan farmer cleaning his fingernails with a razor blade.

      As the men lounged, the women and girls were still at work, preparing dinner, tending children, fetching water and gathering firewood. They explained that disputes did arise, especially as the two groups competed for limited resources like firewood.

      “We’ve been chased away,” said Agnes Ajonye, a 27-year-old refugee from South Sudan. “They say we are destroying their forests.”

      And disputes broke out at the well, where Ugandan women insist they should be allowed to skip ahead of refugees.

      “If we hadn’t given you the land you live on, wouldn’t you be dying in Sudan?” said Adili Chandia, a 62-year-old refugee, recounting the lecture she and others got from a frustrated Ugandan woman waiting in line.

      Ugandan officials often talk about the spirit of Pan-Africanism that motivates their approach to refugees. President Yoweri Museveni, an autocratic leader who has been in power for 32 years, says Uganda’s generosity can be traced to the precolonial days of warring kingdoms and succession disputes, when losing factions often fled to a new land.

      This history of flight and resettlement is embedded in some of the names of local groups around western Uganda, like Batagwenda, which means “the ones that could not continue traveling.”

      The government encourages the nation to go along with its policy by directing that 30 percent of foreign aid destined for refugees be spent in ways that benefit Ugandans nearby. So when money for refugees results in new schools, clinics and wells, Ugandans are more likely to welcome than resent them.

      For Mr. Museveni, hosting refugees has given him relevance and political capital abroad at a time when he would otherwise have little.

      A former guerrilla fighter who quickly stabilized much of his country, Mr. Museveni was once hailed as an example of new African leadership. He was relatively quick to confront the AIDS epidemic, and he invited back Ugandans of Indian and Pakistani descent who had been expelled during the brutal reign of Idi Amin in the 1970s.

      But his star has fallen considerably. He has clung to power for decades. His security forces have beaten political opponents. Freedom of assembly and expression are severely curtailed.

      Even so, Uganda’s openness toward refugees makes Mr. Museveni important to European nations, which are uneasy at the prospect of more than a million refugees heading for Europe.

      Other African nations also host a significant number of refugees, but recent polls show that Ugandans are more likely than their neighbors in Kenya or Tanzania to support land assistance or the right to work for refugees.

      Part of the reason is that Ugandans have fled their homes as well, first during the murderous reign of Mr. Amin, then during the period of retribution after his overthrow, and again during the 1990s and 2000s, when Joseph Kony, the guerrilla leader who terrorized northern Uganda, left a trail of kidnapped children and mutilated victims.

      Many Ugandans found refuge in what is today South Sudan. Mark Idraku, 57, was a teenager when he fled with his mother to the area. They received two acres of farmland, which helped support them until they returned home six years later.

      “When we were in exile in Sudan, they also helped us,” Mr. Idraku said. “Nobody ever asked for a single coin.”

      Mr. Idraku has since returned the favor, loaning three acres to a South Sudanese refugee named Queen Chandia, 37. Ms. Chandia said the land — along with additional plots other Ugandans allow her to farm — has made all the difference.

      Her homestead of thatched-roof huts teemed with children tending their chores, grinding nuts into paste and maize into meal. Ms. Chandia is the mother of a girl and two boys. But over the years, as violence hollowed out her home country, Ms. Chandia started taking in the orphaned children of relatives and friends. Now 22 children call her “mom.”

      A refugee for nearly her entire life, Ms. Chandia arrived in Uganda as a young girl nearly 30 years ago. For years, she worried about being expelled.
      Image

      “Maybe these Ugandans will change their minds on us,” she said, describing the thought that plagued her. Then one day the worry stopped.

      But Mr. Osakan, the administrator who oversees refugee affairs in the country’s extreme northwest, is anxious. There is an Ebola outbreak over the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Osakan fears what might happen if — or when — a refugee turns up in Uganda with the dreaded illness.

      “It would destroy all the harmony between refugees and host communities,” he said, explaining that it would probably lead to calls to seal the border.

      For now, the border is very much open, although the number of refugees arriving has fallen significantly. In one of the newer settlements, many of the refugees came last year, fleeing an attack in a South Sudanese city. But some complained about receiving too little land, about a quarter acre per family, which is less than previous refugees had received.

      “Even if you have skills — in carpentry — you are not given a chance,” said one refugee, Simon Ludoru. He looked over his shoulder, to where a construction crew was building a nursery school. The schoolhouse would teach both local Ugandan and South Sudanese children together, but the workers were almost entirely Ugandan, he said.

      At the construction site, the general contractor, Sam Omongo, 50, said he had hired refugees for the job. “Oh, yes,” he exclaimed.

      How many?

      “Not a lot, actually,” he acknowledged. “I have about three.” Mr. Omongo called one over.

      “Are you a refugee?” Mr. Omongo asked the slight man.

      “No, I’m from Uganda,” he said softly. His name was Amos Chandiga, 28. He lived nearby and owned six acres of land, though he worked only four of them. He had lent the other two to a pair of refugees.

      “They asked me, and I gave it to them,” Mr. Chandiga explained. He patted his chest. “It comes from here, in my heart.”


      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/world/africa/uganda-refugees.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

    • Uganda: a role model for refugee integration?

      Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa and is, after Turkey and Pakistan, the third-largest refugee recipient country worldwide. Political and humanitarian actors have widely praised Ugandan refugee policies because of their progressive nature: In Uganda, in contrast to many other refugee-receiving countries, these are de jure allowed to work, to establish businesses, to access public services such as education, to move freely and have access to a plot of land. Moreover, Uganda is a pilot country of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). In this Working Paper the authors ascertain whether Uganda indeed can be taken as a role model for refugee integration, as largely portrayed in the media and the political discourse. They identify the challenges to livelihoods and integration to assess Uganda’s self-reliance and settlement approach and its aspiration towards providing refugees and Ugandan communities receiving refugees with opportunities for becoming self-reliant. Drawing on three months of field research in northern and southern Uganda from July to September of 2017 with a particular focus on South Sudanese refugees, the authors concentrate on three aspects: Access to land, employment and education, intra- and inter-group relations. The findings show that refugees in Uganda are far from self-reliant and socially integrated. Although in Uganda refugees are provided with land, the quality and size of the allocated plots is so poor that they cannot earn a living from agricultural production, which thus, rather impedes self-reliance. Inadequate infrastructure also hinders access to markets and employment opportunities. Even though most local communities have been welcoming to refugees, the sentiment has shifted recently in some areas, particularly where local communities that are often not better off than refugees feel that they have not benefitted from the presence of refugees....

      https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/62871

  • UN Human Rights Council passes a resolution adopting the peasant rights declaration in Geneva - Via Campesina
    https://viacampesina.org/en/un-human-rights-council-passes-a-resolution-adopting-the-peasant-right

    Seventeen years of long and arduous negotiations later, peasants and other people working in rural areas are only a step away from having a UN Declaration that could defend and protect their rights to land, seeds, biodiversity, local markets and a lot more.

    On Friday, 28 September, in a commendable show of solidarity and political will, member nations of United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution concluding the UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. The resolution was passed with 33 votes in favour, 11 abstentions and 3 against. [1]

    Contre : Australie, Hongrie et Royaume-Uni

    In favour: Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Chile, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela

    Abstention: Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

    https://viacampesina.org/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2011/03/Declaration-of-rights-of-peasants-2009.pdf

    #droit_des_paysan·nes

  • China as a conflict mediator: Maintaining stability along the Belt and Road | Mercator Institute for China Studies
    https://www.merics.org/en/china-mapping/china-conflict-mediator

    y Helena Legarda and Marie L. Hoffmann

    Recent years have seen significant changes in China’s international mediation activities. In countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Syria and Israel, among others, diplomats from China increasingly engage in preventing, managing or resolving conflict. In 2017 Beijing was mediating in nine conflicts, a visible increase compared to only three in 2012, the year when Xi Jinping took power as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

    The increase in Chinese mediation activities began in 2013, the year that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was launched. Before that, Beijing was relatively reluctant to engage in conflict resolution abroad. As the MERICS mapping shows, the year 2008 is an outlier in that regard. China’s activities at the time – such as its efforts to mediate between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, or between Sudan and South Sudan – were probably part of Beijing’s charm offensive and its drive to gain more international visibility in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

    #route_de_la_soie #belt_road #chine #eurasie #europe #transport #corridor #corridor_multimodal

  • Most Maps of the New Ebola Outbreak Are Wrong - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/05/most-maps-of-the-new-ebola-outbreak-are-wrong/560777

    Almost all the maps of the outbreak zone that have thus far been released contain mistakes of this kind. Different health organizations all seem to use their own maps, most of which contain significant discrepancies. Things are roughly in the right place, but their exact positions can be off by miles, as can the boundaries between different regions.

    Sinai, a cartographer at UCLA, has been working with the Ministry of Health to improve the accuracy of the Congo’s maps, and flew over on Saturday at their request. For each health zone within the outbreak region, Sinai compiled a list of the constituent villages, plotted them using the most up-to-date sources of geographical data, and drew boundaries that include these places and no others. The maps at the top of this piece show the before (left) and after (right) images.

    #cartographie #santé #RDC #erreur #ebola

  • In DR Congo, the world’s second largest forest is being ravaged as landless communities struggle for their rights - Equal Times
    https://www.equaltimes.org/in-dr-congo-the-world-s-second?lang=en

    Thousands of logs loaded into makeshift boats at the port of Inongo at Lake Mai-Ndombe stand ready to be transported to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    Inongo is the provincial capital of the Mai-Ndombe province, a 13-million-hectare area located some 650 kilometres north-east of Kinshasa. The logs have been illegally cut from the Mai-Ndombe forest, an area of 10 million hectares, which has some trees measuring between 35 and 45 metres.

    “We witness this kind of spectacle every day, whereby tons and tons of logs and timber find their way to the capital either via the Congo River or by road, where they will eventually be shipped overseas, or just sold to the black market,” says environment activist Prosper Ngobila.

    #RDC #forêt #déforestation #bois_illégal #peuples_autochtones

  • Millions flee bloodshed as Congo’s army steps up fight with rebels in east | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/03/millions-flee-bloodshed-as-congos-army-steps-up-fight-with-rebels-in-ea

    Starving and sick, people living in the Democratic Republic of Congo are caught in a bloody cycle of violence and political turmoil

    Jason Burke Masisi

    Tue 3 Apr 2018 05.00 BST

    A 22-old rebel soldier, wounded and now dying, in a hospital in Masisi, DRC.
    A 22-old rebel soldier, wounded and now dying, in a hospital in Masisi, DRC. Photograph: Jason Burke for the Guardian

    Justin Kapitu is dying. He does not know it yet, and the doctors treating the 22-year-old rebel fighter are unlikely to tell him soon, but his chances of surviving more than a few months are virtually non-existent.

    #rdc #congo #guerre #conflits #massacre

  • Pilot scheme seeks to produce first ‘ethical cobalt’ from Congo

    A pilot scheme to trace the world’s first “ethical cobalt” from small-scale mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo all the way to consumers of electric cars and iPhones will start this week, potentially allowing companies such as Apple to assure customers their products are free from child labour and other human rights abuses.


    https://www.ft.com/content/dcea899a-2f8c-11e8-b5bf-23cb17fd1498
    #cobalt #matières_premières #Congo #mines #commerce_équitable #éthique #Better_Cobalt #projet_pilote
    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • Oil palm, rubber could trigger ’storm’ of deforestation in the Congo Basin
    https://news.mongabay.com/2018/03/oil-palm-rubber-could-trigger-storm-of-deforestation-in-the-congo-bas

    Thousands of square kilometers of the world’s second-largest rainforest, the Congo Basin, sit on the verge of destruction, according to a new report released today by Earthsight, the London-based non-profit that investigates global environmental issues.

    Earthsight documented approximately 500 square kilometers (193 square miles) of deforestation to clear the way for new rubber and oil palm plantations in Central Africa’s rainforest countries over the past five years. But the team also found that companies in Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hold licenses for industrial agriculture on another 8,400 square kilometers (3,243 square miles) of land. Their research shows that government authorities granted several of these concessions with little regard for transparency, and in some cases in violation of laws written to protect forests, often to devastating effect for local communities.

    Globally, illegal conversion of forests to agriculture led to nearly half of deforestation in tropical forests between 2000 and 2012.

    #Afrique_centrale #forêt #déforestation #hévéa #palmier_à_huile

  • REGIONAL OVERVIEW – AFRICA.
    https://www.acleddata.com/2018/03/05/regional-overview-africa-5

    Political violence and protest events in Africa over the week of 25 February showed at least three key developments and points of concern.

    First, Islamist militants attacked for the third time since January 2016 Burkina Faso’s Ouagadougou. The militants struck both the army headquarters and the French embassy, resulting in 16 killed among both the militants and soldiers, and dozens more injured. This attack raised a number of concerns – not least the limited ability to anticipate them.

    Second, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains one of the most active countries on the African continent, with several centres of conflict. Among them is the rising discontent over president Kabila’s prolonged stay in power, as echoed in last week’s protests called by the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC). Activists protested in dozens of towns across the DRC despite a government ban and clashed in several places with the security forces, resulting in three deaths in Kinshasa and Mbandaka (Equateur). The successive visits of four African heads of state in just over two weeks is testament to the mounting regional concerns over the situation in the DRC and of Kabila’s growing political isolation.

    Third, Nigeria is once again becoming very active. Fulani herders have been involved in an increasing number of violent incidents over the past weeks, while religious cohesion proved shaky last week in Kaduna state as Christian and Muslim militias clashed leaving a dozen killed. Joint Nigerian and Cameroonian operations last week cleared Boko Haram from a number of areas In Borno state, but the group quickly reacted, killing three UN aid workers.

    How the government will react to these evolutions could prove a test of president Buhari’s potential for re-election in 2019.

  • Maps tease apart complex relationship between agriculture and deforestation in DRC
    https://news.mongabay.com/2018/02/maps-tease-apart-complex-relationship-between-agriculture-and-defores

    A team from the University of Maryland’s GLAD laboratory has analyzed satellite images of the Democratic Republic of Congo to identify different elements of the “rural complex” — where many of the DRC’s subsistence farmers live.
    Their new maps and visualizations allow scientists and land-use planners to pinpoint areas where the cycle of shifting cultivation is contained, and where it is causing new deforestation.
    The team and many experts believe that enhanced understanding of the rural complex could help establish baselines that further inform multi-pronged approaches to forest conservation and development, such as REDD+.

    #RDC #forêt #déforestation #agriculture #cartographie

  • New Paper Identifying Emerging Hot Spots of Deforestation | Blue Raster
    https://www.blueraster.com/publication-emerging-hot-spots

    Published in Environmental Research Letters, the study lays out the data-analysis workflow Blue Raster developed to identify trends in tree-cover loss in Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 2000 and 2014. Using Esri’s emerging hot spot analysis and big data analysis techniques, Blue Raster identified persistent, accelerating, and new hot spots of tree-cover loss, as well as cold spots of diminishing loss. New forest policies such as logging moratoria and incentives were linked with reduced forest clearing, whereas timber harvesting, road-building, and agricultural land clearing were associated with hot spots.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa5a2f

    #forêt #déforestation #cartographie

  • En #RDC, de nouvelles violences génèrent des déplacements vers l’#Ouganda

    Le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés, observe une forte augmentation du nombre de personnes originaires de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) qui rejoignent l’Ouganda en quête de sécurité.

    Plus de 2 650 réfugiés ont franchi la frontière cette semaine, après avoir fui de nouvelles violences dans la province de l’Ituri en RDC. C’est cinq fois le nombre habituel d’arrivants et la plupart sont des femmes et des enfants.


    http://www.unhcr.org/fr/news/briefing/2017/12/5a3d361da/rdc-nouvelles-violences-generent-deplacements-vers-louganda.html
    #réfugiés_congolais #réfugiés #asile #migrations #république_démocratique_du_congo

  • Living with violence in the DR Congo - BBC News
    http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-41346859

    Since last October, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai region has been wracked by violence, leading to the deaths of many civilians.

    These fatalities are the result of clashes between the army and a government-backed militia known as the Bana Mura, and a rebel group called Kamuina Nsapu.

    Many villages have been burned down and it is estimated that more than a million people have been displaced in the region in the past year.

    Photographer John Wessels travelled to the region and met those who have been caught up in the fighting.

    #rdc #ongo_kinshasa #kivu #témoignages #réfugiés #déplacés #migrations

  • Joseph Kabila’s special relationship with South Africa
    http://africasacountry.com/2017/08/joseph-kabilas-special-relationship-with-south-africa

    On June 25 this year, president Joseph Kabila travelled to Pretoria for the annual bi-national council between the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa (basically a regular cabinet-level meeting between two countries). Kabila is known for rarely leaving the country (aka his presidential residence). Some argue that it is due to fears surrounding his unpopularity for overstaying his presidential mandate,…

  • 850,000 children displaced by violence in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s volatile Kasaï region

    More than 1 million people have been forced from their homes by waves of violent conflict in the Greater Kasaï region of the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) – making the region one of the largest displacement crises in the world for children, UNICEF said today.

    https://www.unicef.org/media/media_98540.html
    #IDPs #déplacés_internes #asile #migrations #réfugiés #RDC #Congo #République_démocratique_du_congo #Kasaï #enfants #enfance #mineurs

  • Inside Congo’s Fast-Growing Displacement Crisis

    Congo has the most internally displaced people in Africa. In Tanganyika province, their number is rapidly expanding amid militia fighting. Yet the government insists the area is peaceful and is forcing displaced people home, William Clowes reports for IRIN News.


    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2017/07/18/inside-congos-fast-growing-displacement-crisis
    #RDC #Congo #réfugiés #asile #migrations #IDPs #déplacés_internes

  • My favorite images: Magee McIlvaine
    http://africasacountry.com/2017/07/my-favorite-images-magee-mcilvaine

    My photographic work is and always has been deeply personal to me. The majority of my childhood was spent in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I grew to be comfortable with being marked as different, whether in Lusaka or in Washington D.C., and found hip hop as a point of common ground, as a way…