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					              MDG7: Environment
              Ensure environmental sustainability

                                                                                                                         BENEFITS OF GREEN FEED –
                                                                                                                         STYLO 184
                                                                                                                         > A readily available source of green
                                                                                                                           feed means women and children
                                                                                                                           no longer need to spend hours
                                                                                                                           each day collecting plants and
                                                                                                                           leaves from an over-used forest.
                                                                                                                         > The green feed is so good that the
                                                                                                                           sows don’t have to be let out to
                                                                                                                           scavenge around the village for
                                                                                                                           extra nutrition.
                                                                                                                         > With the sows and other pigs
                                                                                                                           secured together in their pens at all
                                                                                                                           times, it’s easier to prevent disease
                                                                                                                           outbreaks. (The ability to practise
                                                                                                                           good animal husbandry also helps
                                                                                                                           farmers to become more ‘market
                                                                                                                           focused’ and commercial.)
                                                                                                                         > Improved nutrition means families
                                                                                                                           are able to handle more pigs.
                                                                                                                           Onkeo’s family is now raising 14
                                                                                                                           sows at a time. It’s a big increase
                                                                                                                           but, as Onkeo says, ‘Pig production
                                                                                                                           is good business. It provides more
                                                                                                                           than half my family’s income. Stylo
                                                                                                                           184 has made this possible.’

In the pink                                                                             For all sorts of environmental reasons forests are important –
                                                                                        they maintain biodiversity, prevent erosion, provide timber and
LAOS: Subsistence farmers in the            where people live, but then we noticed      are also a rich source of foods, such as nuts and berries.
country’s mountainous and remote            innovative farmers were also feeding
north are watching their livestock thrive   these legumes to their pigs.’
on legumes.                                     Onkeo, a typical pig farmer from
    In traditional systems, farmers feed    a village outside Luang Phabang, was
their pigs starchy foods supplemented       an example. He and his family used to
with green leaves and plants collected      raise four or five sows at a time. Each
from the surrounding forests. Women         sow produced litters of up to 10 piglets.
and children spend hours each day           At 13 kilos Onkeo would sell the piglets
looking for greenery. It’s an arduous       to neighbouring farmers, and any he
tedious task, plus the demand for           couldn’t sell, he’d raise himself.
forest leaves and plants is beginning           Under the traditional system,
to outstrip supply. Forests are being       Onkeo’s sows and piglets would roam
laid bare.                                  about the village scavenging for food.
    But, agricultural research, mixed       This ad hoc diet was supplemented
with a bit of good luck, has found a        by green plants and leaves collected
solution.                                   from the forest. The greenery would
    ‘While we were applying results         be cooked with rice, bran, cassava and
from an earlier AusAID project to           maize, and fed to the sows and growing
help cattle, buffalo and goat farmers       pigs at night, once they had been safely
we became aware of a bonus spinoff,’        herded back into their enclosures.
explains research project leader, Dr            Following this regime, it took about
Werner Stur. ‘We knew forage we’d           10 months to fatten pigs to their ‘ready
developed in the form of high quality       for slaughter’ weight of 60 kilos.
legumes and grasses was helpful,                But since joining a small group
especially as it could be grown near        of farmers who started growing the

forage legume Stylosanthes guianensis
– also informally known as ‘stylo 184’–
Onkeo’s fattening regime has changed.
                                                   YEAR OF                    SANITATION
It’s now shorter, much easier and gets
him better results.
    What is stylo? It’s a bushy tropical
legume used as feed for animals which
is easily established from seed. It’s
rich in protein, grows well in poor soil
and, unlike forest greenery, needs no
cooking before it can be fed to pigs.
What’s more, it grows well in the early
part of the wet season when rice, bran,
cassava and maize are in short supply.
    Like other innovative pig farmers,
Onkeo at first couldn’t believe the
difference between the pigs that were
given a few handfuls of fresh stylo
each day and those that missed out.
After just six months (as opposed to
the usual 10), ‘stylo’ pigs were reaching
their optimal selling weight of 60 kilos.
    And so, Onkeo made some

The Lao National Agriculture and Forestry
Institute and the International Center for
Tropical Agriculture work with and are
supported by the Australian Government
through ACIAR. Together they are developing
                                                   Waste matter – the true story                                                          Australia will be working closely
a new project which is evaluating ‘best-bet’
                                                                                                                                          with bilateral partners, international
legumes for pigs. The team is also working                                                                                                organisations and non-government
                                                   It’s generally agreed that of all the      water, they’ll queue up. But if you
with other partners to expand the use of                                                                                                  organisations to deliver safe water and
stylo 184 in further smallholder pig
                                                   developments in the past 150 years the     say ‘Now, we have this alternative
                                                                                                                                          effective sanitation where needed.
production systems.                                sanitary revolution has had the most       proposition, which is we’d like you to
                                                   profound effect. The introduction of       speak to people about human waste
ACIAR (Australian Centre for International         clean water and sewage disposal has        and sanitation, and maybe you can          for children, maternal health, are
Agricultural Research) is an Australian            transformed the health of people right     have your photo taken with a toilet’,      contingent upon progress in the area
Government statutory authority that operates
                                                   across the Western world – more so         the queue gets much shorter. The           of water and sanitation.
as part of the Australian Government’s
overseas aid program within the Foreign            than the introduction of antibiotics and   enthusiasm for leading the debate              The Australian Government is
Affairs portfolio. It shares AusAID’s objectives   anaesthesia.                               starts to diminish.                        taking the matter very seriously,
of working cooperatively with regional partners        No surprise then that when we, as          The United Nations is to be            particularly in this United Nations
in the Asia Pacific to reduce poverty and           an international community, turn our       congratulated for saying we have to        Year of Sanitation. The federal Budget
promote sustainable development.
                                                   attention to improving the health and      change this attitude.                      reflects our commitment to increase
                                                   life chances of people in developing           In our region – the Asia Pacific        aid for water and sanitation by $300
TOP LEFT:  Preparing legumes – a better            countries, we say we want to extend        – poor sanitation affects about 190        million over the next three years. It’s a
alternative than spending hours in the             the revolution.                            million people. What does this mean?       relatively small amount this year while
forest collecting greenery. Photo: ACIAR               Mainly for investment and policy       Well, let’s give the starkest example:     we’re in the planning stage (only $8
LEFT: Onkeo’s pigs have never been                 purposes, we tend to lump together         in South-East Asia and the Pacific,         million), but over the next three years,
healthier since he’s introduced stylo 184          ‘water and sanitation’ – so when we        approximately 75,000 children will die     we will make that $300 million.
into the diet. Photo: Brad Collis/Coretext         tackle the subject everyone says ‘yes,     this year from diarrhoea.
                                                   water and sanitation is very important,’       Millennium Development Goal 7          Extract from the speech by the Parliamentary
                                                                                                                                         Secretary for International Development
                                                   but notice when people go on to talk       is about access to sanitation. Of the
                                                                                                                                         Assistance, Bob McMullan, at the Australian
                                                   about it they only mention water.          22 developing countries that Australia     official launch of the International Year
                                                       If you ask public figures, members      provides assistance to in our region, 13   of Sanitation 2008, at Parliament House,
                                                   of parliament and others, to be            are not on track to achieve the target     Canberra (slightly modified)
                                                   associated with a media event, and         for water, and 10 are not on track
                                                                                                                                         ABOVE: Pakistan. A man takes a
                                                   they have the opportunity to be posing     to achieve the target for sanitation.      sanitary break in the streets of Lahore.
                                                   next to a nice shiny well, showing         Reaching so many of the other              Photo: Jerry Lampen/Reuters
                                                   people enjoying the benefits of clean       goals, for example, life expectancy

                                                                                                                                                               FOCUS OCT–DEC 2008 29
   It is far from acceptable
   that over a billion people
   lack access to safe drinking
   water and 2.6 billion lack
   access to basic sanitation.
                                                                                                                                          DISASTER RISK

Abdullah Saleh Mbamba,                      half the proportion of people without
                                            access to basic sanitation by 2015.
                                                                                         $66 billion-worth of annual economic
                                                                                         benefits could be generated through
                                                                                                                                       Sidr and Nargis –
Director, United Nations
Information Centre for
                                                 There are 2.6 billion people
                                            worldwide who are without adequate
                                                                                         productivity and school days gained,          same size
                                                                                         illness and death averted, and savings
Australia, New Zealand                      sanitation facilities. The lack of decent    in related medical expenses, if the           cyclones but
and the South Pacific, was                   toilets and the contamination this           proportion of people without access to
the guest of honour at the                  causes is a root cause of unsafe water.      sanitation is halved by 2015.                 different impacts
                                            The United Nations has estimated                 Reaching the Millennium
Australian launch of the                    that access to a clean and safe toilet       Development Goals, including those            Cyclone Sidr that struck Bangladesh in
United Nations International                and hygiene education could cut child        for water and sanitation, is possible.        November 2007 was similar to Burma’s
Year of Sanitation 2008 at                  deaths from diarrhoea by two thirds          We have the knowledge and the                 Cyclone Nargis of May 2008, yet the
Parliament House, Canberra.                 and could generate US$66 billion-            financial capacity needed to address           impacts from these events are worlds
                                            worth of economic benefits.                   the water crisis. What is missing             apart. Bangladesh lost under 3,500
Over 2.6 billion people or 41 per cent           There is powerful evidence to           now is sufficient political will, and          people while it’s estimated more than
of the global population have no access     show how the humble toilet can               concerted and agreed action. This is          100,000 died in Burma.
to adequate sanitation services. ‘No        drive human development, poverty             where our collective commitment and               With similar Human Development
access’ is a polite way of saying that      reduction and women’s equality. For          support is needed.                            Index rankings, similar poverty levels and
5,000 children under five die every          example, improved sanitation alone               The United Nations is grateful to         similar annual gross domestic product,
day from diarrhoea for lack of a decent     can reduce diarrhoea-related deaths by       the Australian Government for its             the lives and vulnerabilities of Burmese
toilet and hygiene, that girls are forced   more than one third, or by two thirds if     strong commitment to improving                and Bangladeshi communities living on
to stay home from school rather than        it’s combined with hygiene awareness
                                                                                         sanitation services in the Asia-Pacific        extensive coastal tributary systems are
risk indignity and sexual harassment        and changes of behaviour, such as
                                                                                         region, and for its support to the            remarkably alike (see table). Why then
because there are no private latrines,      washing hands.
                                                                                         United Nations in our fight against            did similar cyclone events affecting
and that raw sewage flows directly into           The simple measure of providing
                                                                                         poverty and for human development             similar communities result in disasters
streams, rivers and lakes, fouling the      private, separate and sanitary latrines
                                                                                         for all.                                      of strikingly different proportions?
environment and exposing billions of        in schools can increase girls’ enrolment
people to disease.                          by 11 per cent, while for every 1 per cent                                                     The answer is this. The risk of
                                                                                         Remarks by Abdullah Saleh Mbamba,
    The United Nations General              increase in female literacy (brought                                                       natural disasters affecting the millions
                                                                                         abridged and slightly modified.
Assembly has put the spotlight on           about by this increase in school                                                           of people living along the Bangladesh
‘waste matter’ by declaring 2008 the        attendance), a country’s economy is          ABOVE: East Timor. In the crowded refugee     coastline has been drastically reduced
International Year of Sanitation. The       shown to grow by 0.3 per cent.               camps outside Dili maintaining hygiene        by the actions of the Government
aim is to accelerate progress towards            Research also shows that the            standards is extremely difficult – even the    of Bangladesh in partnership with
the Millennium Development Goals.           economic return of every $1 invested         simple activity of brushing teeth has to be   international agencies and donors.
One of the targets is to reduce by          in sanitation is $9.1. An estimated          thought through. Photo: Beawiharta/Reuters    Bangladesh has invested in early
                                                                                                                                       warning systems, mitigation measures


                                                                                                                                              LEFT AND FAR LEFT:Burma ravaged after
                                                                                                                                              Cyclone Nargis. Photos: jhpix
                                                                                                                                              BELOW:  Mangroves, such as these in
                                                                                                                                              Vietnam, are a natural line of defence
                                                                                                                                              against storm surges and severe winds.
                                                                                                                                              Their protective properties should not be
                                                                                                                                              underestimated. Photo: Jim Holmes

                                                                                         What’s an HDI?
                                                                                         The Human Development Index – known as an HDI – is updated
                                                                                         annually by the United Nations Development Programme. It
                                                                                         measures social and economic development. Each country
                                                                                         is given an HDI measure based on the country’s average life
                                                                                         expectancy, rate of educational attainment and gross domestic
                                                                                         product. Of the 177 countries listed on the HDI, Iceland is
                                                                                         ranked number one, Australia is ranked third, Burma is ranked
                                                                                         number 132 and Bangladesh number 140.

                                                                                                                                                   Bangladesh               Burma Cyclone
                                                                                                                                                 Cyclone Sidr,            Nargis, May 2008
                                                                                                                                               November 2007
                                                                                       Cyclone category                                                Category 4                   Category 3
                                                                                       Tidal wave (and storm surge)                             5 m (up to 6m)             3.5 m (up to 7m)
  and community preparedness activities,        While the Government of Burma
  and Burma has not.                            was informed of Cyclone Nargis         Wind speed                                                      240 km/hr                    255 km/hr
     Three key disaster risk reduction          72 hours before it made landfall,      Population evacuated                                             3 million                          None
  measures make all the difference in           the country has no early warning       Deaths                                                               3,406                     84,537*
  Bangladesh:                                   system. Vital information was
                                                                                       Missing                                                              1,001                       53,836
  1. Effective early warning systems:           not – nor could be – conveyed to
     Bangladesh has an early warning            communities in danger.                 Population ‘severely’ affected                                   1 million                   2.4 million
     system that advises people at risk to   2. Protective embankments: As             Cost of damage                                          US$1.67 billion                 US$11 billion
     evacuate to safe cyclone shelters up       Bangladesh has invested heavily        Human Development Index (2007)                                          140                              132
     to 48 hours before cyclones make           in flood embankments in high-
                                                                                       GDP (PPP, 2007)                                                US$1,400                      US$1,900
     landfall. During Cyclone Sidr, over        risk areas, many households were
     three million people were evacuated        protected from the six-metre high      Population below poverty line (2004)                                   45%                           33%
     and 1.5 million took refuge in             storm surge from Cyclone Sidr. Burma   Data sources: Cyclone Sidr statistics (World Bank 2008); Cyclone Nargis statistics (USAID, ReliefWeb);
                                                                                       Country statistics (UNDP, website)
     purpose-built cyclone shelters.            has no such structural mitigation.
                                                                                       * Estimated 100,000

                                                                                                                                                                          FOCUS OCT–DEC 2008 31

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