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Climate Change

Amid All the Work, a Timeout for Fun

Tom Grubisich's picture

Jim Morehouse

DM2009 is a lot of hard work, but on Tuesday night, finalists and other participants had a couple of hours to relax at a reception.  The welcome was given by Michele de Nevers, Senior Manager of the World Bank's Environment Department.

The musical highlight was a performance by Jim Morehouse, playing his American Indian flute.  Morehouse was invited to perform by Habiba Gitay, Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank Institute.  Gitay met Morehouse at a climate change discussion at the Soka Gakkai International-USA Buddhist Culture Center in Washington.

Morehouse told the Tuesday night audience about the 3,000-year-old history of the six-hole American Indian flute.  A player for 13 years, Morehouse said, "The hardest thing is getting over the fear of making a mistake."   Judging from his audience's reaction, he made no mistakes Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, it's back to work, with the 40 jurors of DM2009 beginning their morning-and-afternoon evaluations of the 100 finalists' projects.

 

No Empty Chairs, Please...

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It's very important for all finalists to be at their booths by 10 o'clock Wednesday morning.  That's when the jurors will begin making their rounds and continue until 3 in the afternoon.

The jurors will go round in pairs.  Each finalist will be interviewed twice.

So, set your alarm, grab that coffee, or tea, or whatever, and get yourself to your booth on time.

And knock out those jurors.  They'll want to know all the technical stuff behind your project, but they'll be looking for your passion, too.  Show it!

 

Graeme Wheeler on the Crucial Role of Development Marketplace

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Graeme Wheeler, who is spearheading the World Bank's mission to develop and share knowledge and innovation, gave a big boost to Development Marketplace at the opening session of DM2009 this morning (Nov. 10).

Addressing the 100 finalists in the global competition (photo at left), Wheeler, who is the Bank's Managing Director, Operations, linked DM with the Bank's recent Global Innovation Days. Graeme Wheeler, Managing Director, World Bank

"These two events -- Global Innovation Days and Development Marketplace -- will be the two cornerstones of our partnering in knowledge and learning....It's extremely valuable that the thematic focus of this year's Development Markeplace is climate change adaptation.....Climate change is the largest externality challenge of our time.  It is the most difficult public policy problem faced by the current generation of policy makers and policy advisers."

Wheeler also said, "In the World Bank Group, we see knowledge as the key element of our corporate DNA....Loans alone cannot solve the the development challenge.  What makes value is our ability to create, find, and deliver innovative solutions to our clients."

Almost needless to say, innovation is key to DM 2009.

Danish Ambassador to U.S.: Engage Now to Reach Agreement in Copenhagen

The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is only a few weeks away and climate change negotiators are working day and night to identify the common ground for an agreement.

I see three key issues in the negotiations:

1.    Setting of tarFriis Arne Petersen, Danish Ambassador to the U.S.gets by developed countries for greenhouse gas emission reduction.
2.    Commitment by developing countries to actions on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
3.    Financing of adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.

These are very difficult issues, but let me state the obvious: We cannot compromise on our ambitions to limit man made global warming to a maximum of two degrees centigrade, and thus have a good chance to adapt to the consequent impacts.

Science is very clear on this point: If we continue to increase the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we are bound to pass a number of critical tipping points that may lead to dire consequences. And it is also clear that we can halt or change the trend. It is doable and indeed profitable compared to the cost of inaction, the cost of doing nothing.

My aspiration for Copenhagen is simple: We must conclude a binding agreement that will set the world on the path to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees.

Extreme Weather Snarls Some DM2009 Finalists' Trips

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Hurricanes, typhoons, and flooding -- some of the extreme weather conditions that the finalists tackled in their projects -- upset the plans of several international competitors to come to the DM2009 competition in Washington.

The longest delay was encountered by Nidia Matamoros (photo at left), a member of the Miskito indigenous group in Nicaragua, whose home was flooded by Hurricane Ida.  From start to finish, Matamoros logged 102 hours from the time the first leg of her flight was originally scheduled to leave Managua's airport -- Nov. 5 -- to her arrival at Reagan Washington National Airport at 1 a.m. Monday morning, Nov. 9.

'I'm proud, I'm excited, I'm happy," Matamoros said at the orientation session that opened the four-day DM2009 program Monday afternoon.  "This is the first time the Miskito communities have participated so fully in such an event."

Summing up her marathon journey, Matamoros said, "It's too much.  I need a siesta."

The project she's working would would establish Maya Nut "food forests" in Miskito communities to produce up to 5 million pounds of food worth US$3 million to improve the nutrition of as many as 2,500 Miskito children.  It would also restore wild game, including deer and fish, and protect 30 miles of rivers from flooding and erosion.

* * *

Philippines finalist Eugenio Manalo decided not to accompany his project's team to Washington so he could stay behind and work on relief for those hit by four typhoons in the late summer and early fall that caused extensive flooding and loss of life.

Belize finalist Lisel Alamilla, facing poor road conditions in the southern part of her country, had to arrange for a flight via a chartered single-engine Cessna from Punta Gorda to Belize City's airport to get her connecting flight to Miami.  She produced a handwritten receipt for reimbursement.

 

DM2009 Competition Gets More Funding

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The total award pool for winners in the DM2009 competition has risen to $4.86 million.  That means that Development Marketplace now expects to fund up to 24-25 projects among the nearly a hundred finalists from 47 countries.  Another $600,000 will directly benefit the finalists -- mainly the winners -- by supporting knowledge exchange, technical assistance, dissemination of results, and project evaluation.

The Global Environment Facility continues to be a major partner for DM, adding $2 million this year onto its previous $5.6 million given to past competitions.

***

Visitors to the event, which opens tomorrow, Nov. 10, and continues to Friday, Nov. 13, will be able to video scenes from the floor and immediately upload their files with Flip cams that will be loaned out from the DM desk.  (DM communications leader Edie Smith tries out the pocket cam as the exhibition takes shape in the Atrium of the Main Complex of the World Bank Group.)

Where the Finalists Put Their Focus

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The DM2009 competition has three sub-themes:

  • Resilience of Indigenous Peoples Communities to Climate Risks.
  • Climate Risk Management with Multiple Benefits.
  • Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management.

This is how the finalists' projects break down by sub-theme:

Latin Indigenous Peoples Hard Hit by Climate Change

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Some 28 million members of Indigenous Peoples live in Latin America, many of them in poverty and prone to flooding and other weather extremes caused or exacerbated by climate change.  A number of finalist projects aim to give Indigenous Peoples in Latin America a cushion against weather extremes.

Here's a sampling of the projects:

In Mexico, ITESM at Tecnologico de Monterrey seeks "to help people from Tutuaca, Otachique, and Conoachi communities in Chihuahua through a biocultural rescuing program to maintain native maize genetic diversity facing climate change needs, including validation and verification mechanisms to preserve their diverse maize races."

In Peru, an organization of women from four communities in the High Andean region proposes "to recover ancestral knowledge and techniques to mitigate the effects of cold spells, reducing the vulnerability of 2,758 comuneros belonging to 551 families in the district of Palca."

In El Savador, Instituto para en Rescate Ancestral Indigena Salvadoreno  (RAIS) seeks to "recover, divulge, and make people aware of the knowledge of 100 wise indigenous women regarding the properties and interpretation of the language of both climate and earth as a support tool to prevent climate-change risks."

DM2009 Projects Aim to Help the Most Vulnerable

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The world's poor are those most exposed to climate change that often brings drought, flooding, and other extreme weather.

DM2009 finalist projects aim to protect the most vulnerable from these disasters, while also helping them to develop economically.  Overall, such initiatives are called "linking adaptation to development."

In Mozambique, droughts keep about 500,000 people in chronic food insecurity, and indications are that dry periods aggravated by climate change will stretch out beyond the current "hunger period" of October to January.

Helvetas Mozambique, one of the finalists, describes what happens:

"Without access to quality seeds, subsistence farmers practicing rain-fed agriculture continue recycling grain that has been exhausted after generations of cultivation, producing poor yields. Subsequent storage losses cause 22 percent of rural households to run out of stocks and suffer from food shortages during the..'hunger period.'"

To break this cycle, Swiss-based Helvetas proposes what it calls a "zero-emission fridge" consisting of low-cost storage facilities run by community-owned seed banks that "distribute quality seeds of improved crop varieties and serve as a social safety net to benefit 10,000+ rural households -- focusing particularly on the most resource-poor and vulnerable groups" (photo at left).

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