I was walking through the lobby of IFC today, and there was something pretty unusual hanging—a bunch of oversized, transparent garbage bags. I took a snapshot with my phone (apologies for the modest quality of the photo). From a distance, I couldn't tell what was inside, but when I got up close I saw they were filled with tons of plastic bottles—all used by IFC staff. The sign below the bags reports that IFC staff consume some 80,600 plastic bottles every year.
East Asia and Pacific
China looks set to see a boom in access to finance since the passage in 2007 of the Property Rights Law. Last week, the Financial Times reported on the newfound ability of farmers to monetise their land. Some farmers are selling to larger, more efficient companies, while others are taking advantage of the opportunity to use their land as collateral:
Editor's note: This post is part of Blog Action Day on climate change. For more information, visit blogactionday.org.
Apologies for having been out of touch since Carbon Expo. I needed a break, and summer in Croatia proved one can have a life beyond international development and carbon finance. Climate change, however, very much stayed on my mind with reports of wildfires in the United States and Greece. Clearly, one cannot escape all-encompassing global change, in particular when negotiations have now started in earnest on a post-2012 treaty to reduce carbon emissions and provide financing for developing countries.
Some still think that climate change is just a buzz topic and will quietly disappear from global attention. Let me assure you that many people in East Asian and Pacific countries would disagree. They are hit by natural disasters, which in recent years not only steadily increased in frequency, but also in intensity.
Some of my colleagues in the Vietnam office of the World Bank, working with Sai Gon Tiep Thi newspapers, recently organized a photo contest and exhibition on the topic of natural disasters. I thought I’d share some of the finalist entries, which are remarkable in their composition and relevance. It’s important to note that these pictures are not related to the disasters that have hit several East Asian and Pacific countries in recent weeks. Nevertheless, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to click through the pictures below, which focus on the human toll of natural disasters in Vietnam. Check back in a couple days for more photos from the same contest.
The financial crisis and subsequent credit crunch has greatly reduced the options available to governments regarding PPPs. The reason is very simple: There is no longer enough money available for long-term private infrastructure investment. However, I see this as a temporary situation, as the rationale for PPPs remains as strong as ever.
|It was clear that our study area on the Indonesian island of Siberut is now rarely visited by anyone. (More photos)|
My last post described my reactions to going back to Siberut Island with my wife after a 30-year break, and this one considers the changing conservation situation there. The terrestrial mammals of the island are remarkable in that almost all are endemic, and among them are four species of primates (one an endemic genus) – levels of endemism equivalent to those found in Madagascar.
There has been formal logging on and off over the last 30 years but we hadn’t found a map of exactly where. When we reached the basin where our study area had been, the views from the villages was of logged-over forest. The rights to log the forests had been negotiated with local clans, but in hindsight the benefits were pretty meager and short-lived. The trees the loggers sought were the large and magnificent Shorea, and with these now gone it is getting harder for people to make their dugout canoes. Also, we were struck by the contrast of the timber quality of the longhouses we visited in areas without logging against the timber quality of the small government-sponsored modern houses with corrugated iron roofs. The timber available now seems to start looking decayed as soon as it is nailed into place.
Officials at the World Health Organization have said that a second wave of the Influenza A/H1N1 virus could get worse, and large numbers of people in all countries, including the East Asia and Pacific region, remain susceptible to the pandemic. The World Bank is working with the United Nations and WHO to help strengthen developing countries’ health systems and increase pandemic readiness.
Starting in about 15 minutes, World Bank health expert Keith Hansen will be answering questions about H1N1 and health systems in developing countries in an online discussion. Hansen will be online today at 10:30 a.m. (Washington DC time). Submit your questions now.