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October 2009

Far from home in China: conversations with migrant workers searching for opportunities in urban centers

Joe Qian's picture
Quality Control Inspector Jiang Peng walks on scaffolding along the foundation of the water treatment facility.

While traveling through China recently, I had an opportunity to visit the Shanghai Urban Environment project in the emergent suburban district of Qingpu and spoke to a number of workers responsible for the implementation and completion of the project.

As with many infrastructure and urban development projects in China, the speed and magnitude can be astonishing, with hundreds of employees working around the clock to ensure timely completion. Work on the facility runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with construction workers from all over China contracted to work and live onsite until its completion in 2011. Once finished, it will improve water service, coverage, and waste water management in the region which will be essential for sustaining the increasing population and living standards.

Online mapping tool gives view of forests in developing countries

James I Davison's picture

In July, biodiversity specialist and blogger Tony Whitten wrote a post about not abandoning old-fashioned conservation techniques as an important method of taking positive action on climate change. One of the important old-school mitigation methods, he wrote, lies in protecting the world’s forests through reforestation and avoiding further deforestation.

Accordingly, a big part of the ongoing climate change discussion includes reducing emissions through deforestation and degradation (known as REDD). And the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization now offers a tool to help monitor forests in developing countries. Using satellite imagery and other data, the Global Forest Resources Assessment Portal displays the information on an interactive map.

The world’s resources, at a glance

James I Davison's picture

Here’s an interesting and quick item to check out on a Friday. This map gives an attractive, at-a-glace look at some of the world’s key natural resources, organized by country. A couple of things to note that are East Asia-related: China leads more categories (at least on this map) than any other country, including wheat, cotton, gold and rice.

Wanted: researchers for first-rate forest study camp in Indonesia

Tony Whitten's picture

In my earlier blog posts and video on my return visit to Siberut, I mentioned that we had visited the Pungut Research Camp of the German Primate Centre and Institut Pertanian Bogor in the far north of the island.

The 4000 ha forested study area is leased from the logging company within whose concession it lies and is used under an agreement with the clan which claims it and in cooperation with the community of the local village, Politcioman. This first-rate site has been operating for several years and can support national and international researchers. It took some while to iron out some problems but these have now been sorted.

More Vietnam in pictures: fighting and mitigating natural disasters

Claudia Gabarain's picture

As advanced by my colleague James a few days ago, here's a second slideshow on natural disasters in Vietnam, this time showing prevention and mitigation measures put in place across the country. Again, the photos are striking. And the actions, varied and ingenious.

 

Climate Change won't go away – so get the basics right now

Florian Kitt's picture

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.

Vietnam in pictures: The human toll of natural disasters

James I Davison's picture

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.

Mongolia reaches milestone in global assessment of threatened species

Tony Whitten's picture
Red deer from the Mongolia Red List for Mammals.

The Red Books and Red Lists, produced regularly by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are fundamental tools in the monitoring of the conservation status of the world’s animals and plants. On publication, the news they generate is very significant but generally rather depressing. However, these global Red Lists have their limitations at national levels – when species are nationally very common but globally threatened – or when species are very rare and threatened, with no global conservation concern whatsoever.

Take the Red Deer in Mongolia for example. Globally this is formally of ‘Least Concern’ (pdf) – the lowest category – because it has an enormous range, is managed for hunting in many countries, and effectively protected in others. But in Mongolia, its status is the highest possible ‘Critically Endangered’ (pdf).

Returning to Siberut: Conservation changes on Indonesian island after 30 years

Tony Whitten's picture

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.

Today: Ask questions to health expert about H1N1 virus

James I Davison's picture

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.

ມັນເປັນໄດ້ຫຼາຍກວ່າເຂື່ອນ: 41 ປີຜ່ານມາ ຮ່ອງຮອຍປະຫວັດສາດຍັງຄົງເຫຼືອໄວໃຫ້ເຫັນ ຢູ່ລາວ

Victoria Minoian's picture

(This entry was originally published in English on Sep. 9, 2009)

 

ຕັ້ງແຕ່ໄດ້ເຮັດວຽກເພື່ອຊ່ວຍເຫຼືອວຽກງານດ້ານການສື່ສານ ແລະ ຂໍ້ມູນຂ່າວສານໃຫ້ແກ່ໂຄງການ ໄຟຟ້ານ້ຳເທີນ 2 (NT2) ຢູ່ລາວໃນຕົ້ນປີນີ້, ຂ້ອຍກໍ່ໄດ້ຟັງຫຼາຍຄົນເວົ້າວ່າ ໂຄງການນີ້ມີຄວາມໝາຍຫຼາຍກ່ວາໂຄງການພັດທະນາໄຟຟ້ານ້ຳຕົກ. ຖ້າຫາກໄດ້ອ່ານ ແລະ ສຶກສາຄົ້ນຄ້ວາ ກ່ຽວກັບການປະຕິຮູບໂຄງສ້າງຫຼາຍໆດ້ານ ທີ່ລັດທະບານລາວໄດ້ຈັດຕັ້ງປະຕິບັດ ເພື່ອດຳເນີນໂຄງການດັ່ງກ່າວ, ທ່ານຈະສາມາດເຂົ້າໃຈວ່າເປັນຫຍັງຄົນຈຳນວນຫຼາຍຈຶ່ງເວົ້າແນວນັ້ນ. ໃນມໍ່ໆມານີ້, ຂ້ອຍກໍ່ໄດ້ມີໂອກາດໄປສຳພາດກັບບາງວຽກງານ ທີ່ໄດ້ປະກອບສ່ວນອັນສຳຄັນໃຫ້ແກ່ໂຄງການນີ້ ແລະ ເປັນປະສົບການທີ່ຫຼາຍຄົນບໍ່ອາດຄາດຄິດມາກ່ອນ ແຕ່ມັນແມ່ນມີຄວາມໝາຍອັນສຳຄັນຕໍ່ໂຄງການ.