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East Asia and Pacific

Making poverty history in 2006

It was a banner year in 2005 for big speeches from global leaders about fighting third-world poverty. But if any of their promises are going to come close to being kept, 2006 must be a year of action... The world needs no more speeches in 2006 about global poverty. The six million children under 5 who die every year of diseases that can be easily and cheaply treated do not need more lofty goals. Nor do the 40 million young people still unable to go to school, or the 300 million Africans who lack access to clean water.

Aceh Diary: Commemoration

BANDA ACEH, DECEMBER 26 2005. The chartered planes carrying foreign dignitaries and government officials began arriving at the tiny airport long before dawn, heralding one year to the day that the tsunami devastated Aceh’s coastline. The Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was scheduled to open a two-day series of commemoration events with an 8am ceremony at Ulee Lheu port –- one of the worst hit locations in Banda.

Aceh Diary on BBC Radio

Shaela Rahman was on the Five Live radio show yesterday discussing the tsunami reconstruction efforts one year after. Her segment starts at 20:45.

Also see this moving multimedia feature from the Washington Post.

Update 1: The BBC link may only be good for a week.

The world in 2006

An excellent series of companion podcasts to the popular forward-looking edition of The Economist, The World in 2006. Some highlights:

  • Paul Wolfowitz on the priorities for world development
  • Amartya Sen on India’s rising star
  • Daniel Yergin on the future of the oil market
  • Daniel Franklin on the world’s biggest economies, and
  • Simon Long on India’s emerging market.

Harvard Business School on global poverty

HBS recently hosted the ‘Global Poverty: Business Solutions and Approaches’ conference. Nothing groundbreaking, but an interesting group of speakers and papers. Its great that the event happened, but I would have liked to have seen more private sector people and less academics presenting. Thanks to NextBillion for pulling the material together.

The future of African techno-entrepreneurship

Audio and video from the recent United Nations and Sun Microsystems sponsored Pop!Tech event is now available online (Part 1 & 2). This excellent event brought together young African thought leaders to discuss the role of technology in changing communities and fighting poverty and disease. Several of those in attendance were also blogging from the event.

Lessons from reconstruction

Long-term reconstruction differs significantly from the provision of immediate postdisaster rescue and relief. While speed remains important, proper planning becomes even more crucial. Putting up temporary housing is relatively fast and easy, but rebuilding a viable and vibrant community is not.

In praise of the persons of the year

Bono and Melinda & Bill Gates have been named persons of the year by Time Magazine (subscription required). Nancy Birdsall and Steve Radelet offer a defense of them at 'Views from the Center'.

Aceh Diary: Coordination

Coordination is the biggest buzzword within the donor community in Banda Aceh. Everybody’s heard of it, everybody’s talking about it, everybody thinks it’s a great thing, everybody wants to be a part of it; so is everybody doing it? No, not really.