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World Population Could Be Nearly 11 Billion by 2100

A new statistical analysis shows the world population could reach nearly 11 billion by the end of the century, according to a United Nations report issued June 13. That's about 800 million, or about 8 percent, more than the previous projection of 10.1 billion, issued in 2011.

The projected rise is mostly due to fertility in Africa, where the U.N. had expected birth rates to decline more quickly than they have.

"The fertility decline in Africa has slowed down or stalled to a larger extent than we previously predicted, and as a result the African population will go up," said Adrian Raftery, a University of Washington professor of statistics and of sociology.

The current African population is about 1.1 billion and it is now expected to reach 4.2 billion, nearly a fourfold increase, by 2100.

The new U.N. estimates use statistical methods developed by Raftery and his colleagues at the UW Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences. The group's improved fertility forecasting methods, combined with updated data collected by the U.N., were used to project the long-term consequences of the fertility change in Africa since the last population estimate two years ago.

New to this year's projection are finer-tuned statistics that anticipate the life expectancies of women and men across this century.

In other areas of the world, fewer major population changes are expected. Europe may see a small decline because of fertility continuing below replacement level, and other nations around the globe may see modest increases due to longer life expectancies, Raftery said.

There's no end in sight for the increase of world population, he added, yet the topic has gone off the world's agenda in favor of other pressing global issues, including poverty and climate -- both of which have ties to world population.

"These new findings show that we need to renew policies, such as increasing access to family planning and expanding education for girls, to address rapid population growth in Africa," Raftery said.

The UN gives high and low variants of its projections, assuming that women have an average of half a child more or less than the best projection. That leaves a large uncertainty, from 7 billion to nearly 17 billion, in the range for potential world population by the end of this century.

By contrast, the UW research group has developed probabilities of future population levels to be coupled with best forecasts. "Our probability intervals are much tighter, ranging from 9 billion to 13 billion in 2100," Raftery said.

Global population reached 7 billion in 2011. It passed 6 billion in 1999.

Source: Science Daily


Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Nazira Sarkis, recently stressed the importance of eco-tourism and work to achieve a balance between tourism and the environment, economic and social interests through the focus towards sustainable management of natural resources.

 During the final meeting of the National Commission for adopting the Directory of Eco-Tourism Sites, Dr. Sarkis pointed out the importance of eco-tourism, which is an activity that combines between originality in cultural and natural heritage and modernity in its ethical civilization in  addition to its significant role in the maintenance of instinctive and natural life from extinction.

"The Ministry has given great interest since 2003 to the eco-tourism and establishing the national capacity to ensure the circulation of such kind of tourism as widely as possible, pointing out that several training workshops were held in this regard and the creation of a special bureau of eco-tourism in the ministry," Dr. Sarkis said.

It is worth mentioned that a national committee was created comprising representatives of all the ministries, the Planning and International Cooperation Commission and the Regional Planning Commission to prepare a guide eco-tourism sites in Syria.

During the meeting, members of the Committee discussed the methodology of directory and its contents, which include a definition of eco-tourism and its conditions, principles and types in addition to the possible activities locations of eco-tourism sites and classification adopted to sites of eco-tourism in Syria, including geographical location and tourist attractions to be the site of eco-tourism as well as activities that can be carried out at these sites according to different environmental rules, customs and traditions and traditional industries to communities living in or near sites and the existing infrastructure that the site needs to be an integrated eco-tourism site.

Sh. Kh.

Expanding Cooperation with Academic Research Institutions to Find Solutions to Environmental Problems

DAMASCUS, (ST) - DAMASCUS, (ST) - Activities of the  2nd  Environmental Research Conference recently started here on the auditorium of Damascus University and discussed  the agricultural waste to get environmentally friendly products and on the tarmac at the University of Damascus.

The three-day conference discussed a study concerning economic, social and environmental effects of the optimal uses of waste production and agro-processing and technologies used to improve the nutritional value of agricultural residues and other topics of scientific environmental research.

The Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Nazira Sarkis, underlined that that the government pays special attention to scientific research and the development of education, universities and research centers, and reform of laws and regulations to ensure the construction of a modern advanced society on scientific basis.

Dr. Sarkis clarified that her Ministry had worked to develop a comprehensive and integrated strategy to combat pollution in all its forms and to improve the environmental situation currently in coopration with bodies concerned. The ministry, she added, is seeking to expand cooperation with academic and research institutions to find solutions to environmental problems, encourage research on the environmental issues and contribute to the reduction of pollution, working to invest in the scientific field of information systems, which play a big role in the service of sound management of natural resources and environment protection.

The ministry also seeks to set up an integrated data bank serves the work of the National Environmental Observatory and environmental information center for monitoring the environmental situation.

"Syria was one of the first countries that have joined the international environmental conventions on climate change, combatting desertification and biodiversity. Syria also signed agreements and MoUs for bilateral cooperation in the field of protection of the environment with a number of countries and called to participate actively in addressing environmental impacts and to provide solutions and treatments and comprehend scientific development in these areas," the Minister noted.

President of Damascus University, Dr. Mohammed Amer al-Mardini, pointed out that the challenges face the environment in Syria impos the search in several topics including environmental resources and the potential of investing them to meet the needs of the community and the requirements of sustainable development. and in particular to the lost and wasted in agricultural production and processing constitute the bulk pointing out that agricultural residues form in this context an urgent and  comprehensive problem, and an opportunity to deepen the relationship between scientific research at the university and issues of community.

Dr Mardini pointed out to the importance of conducting environment scientific research between academic institutions and other service institutions. The balanced development, he added, takes into account the lower costs; maintain the health and preservation of the environment, increase employment and youth employment in the context of securing good use of the capabilities of individuals and their knowledge and potentials and the available environmental resources.

For his part, Director of the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Areas (ACSAD), Dr. Rafiq Ali Saleh, explained that improper disposal of agricultural waste reflects wrong practices. Such practices help wasting an important productive element that would contribute to reducing the cost of production, increasing soil fertility, supporting necessary feed resources and the possibility of creating a climate for small income generating to support rural development.

particularly as agribusiness overcome most of the activities of population in the Arab region, which is Situated habitat important for the diversity of animal and plant pointing out that the Arab Center attaches importance and wide for these activities in Arab countries

The conference recommended benefiting from agricultural waste products to get environment-friendly products through adopting a database of the National Observatory for Environment, waste availability and areas of existence and utilization, the need for the application of scientific research and environmental contact with the immediate environmental issues.

Participants called on adopting the participation in dealing with environmental problems through ensuring requirements of applied scientific research, activating the agreements and memoranda of cooperation with research institutions, civil society. They called on activating the role of guiding farmers on investing the agricultural waste, encouraging economic and social studies. They also underlined the adoption of a special database concerning the conference and the follow-up of researches in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, public and private bodies for the establishment of small projects in coordination with the researchers.

The participants pointed to the need for holding seminars and conferences in line with the priorities of environmental problems and serving the strategy of the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs in protecting the environment and achieving sustainable development.

 "The ministry will prepare a joint work programs with universities and research institutions to develop and implement environmental, social and media researches that deal with the change of behavior at productive communities, referring to the need to establish this conference annually," the minister pointed out.

Sh. Kh.

Syria marks the World Environment Day

On June 5, the State Ministry for Environmental Affairs and Damascus Countryside Governorate co-organized activities to mark the world’s Environment Day.

Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Nazira Serkis and Damascus Countryside’s Governor Hussein Khallouf participated in the environmental activities in Qudsia Suburb, 18 km western Damascus, to increase the environmental awareness and culture.

The Minister, Governor and hundreds of volunteers planted 600 saplings of Damascene jasmine, pine, rose, palm and oak in the Suburb’s squares to increase the green areas.

Later, the officials moved to open an exhibition of paintings done by children of displaced families who are living in a shelter centre, in the Suburb. The children welcomed the officials at the centre’s gate , raising the Syrian flags and President Bashar al-Assad’s posters and hailing the Syrian Arab Army in its war against  terrorist groups.

The centre is run by the government to host 160 displaced families who ran away from the armed groups. Big number of these families had returned from Lebanon’s refugee camps. The children’s paintings show the terrorist attacks, crimes and sabotages perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups. Some of paintings show the heroic operations of the Syrian Arab Army and their love to their country’s flag as a symbol of the Syrians unity.

In a press conference attended by the Syria Times,  Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Nazira Serkis said that her ministry will cooperate with all ministries and concerned sides to improve environmental situation in the areas affected by terrorists and their attacks and plant  these areas to change them into green ones.  

For his part, Governor Hussein Khallouf said: “The Governorate and the Ministry are cooperating together to organize a

program on the occasion of World Environment Day to be briefed on displaced families in shelters and engage them in environmental activities.”

The Minister of State for Environmental Affairs issued a press release, get by the Syria Times,  saying: "The 2013 theme for World Environment Day is "Think.Eat.Save." This theme aims to encourage individuals to limit wastage and losses in food and decrease the amount of food waste.

Reported by O. Mohammad

Syria Mark World Environment Day

DAMASCUS COUNTRYSIDE, (ST) – marking the World Environmental Day, a field campaign on Wednesday was organized  by the State Ministry for Environmental Affairs in cooperation with Damascus Countryside Governorate.

The campaign aimed at  spreading environmental amongst citizens .

Approximately 600 saplings of pine, palm, oak, jasmine and roses were planted by volunteers in the squares near a temporary housing center in Qudsaya district..

The campaign also included an exhibition of paintings made  by children staying in the said center.

"the State Ministry for Environmental Affaires will do its utmost to improve environmental conditions in areas affected by terrorism, "underscored State Minister for Environmental Affairs Nazira Serkis

Damascus Countryside Governor Hussein Khalloud ,for his part, asserted that the Governorate and the State Ministry are organizing a program on occasion of World Environment Day to check up on families in housing centers and get them  involve in environmental activities.

The 2013 theme for World Environment Day is "Think.Eat.Save."  This theme aims to encourage individuals to limit wastage and losses in food and decrease the amount of food waste. In this framework, the State Ministry for Environmental Affairs is organizing campaigns and lectures and producing TV, radio and press material to raise awareness.