It is part of World Bank tradition that, just before retiring, a staff member sends a short email to his/her colleagues to express how much they have enjoyed the challenges of working here, the partnerships they have had in their focus countries, and - most of all - the camaraderie of their committed, dedicated, hard-working co-workers. All this could be perceived as trite, but the feelings are absolutely genuine – as I am now finding.
|A baby black gibbon|
Usually, when we think of humanitarian relief, images of food drops or internally displaced persons (IDP) camps first come to mind but there is a whole world of altruism that has emerged which is helping behind the scenes in times of crises. Detailed maps are critical to delivering humanitarian relief to the millions of Pakistanis that have been affected by flooding.
|Everyone was on their phone—ringing loved ones, ringing offices, ringing those that mattered—to get reassurance that people are okay, to check on damage, to ring for advice on the threat of a tsunami.|
|The Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place. (Photo: RBG Kew)|
|View to Ulaanbaatar from a tourist camp on the slopes of Bogd Khan Uul|
Okay, so we changed our minds, but we did so for good reasons.
Ok. We are back again @ Carbon Expo. This year in Cologne. The German weather cannot really keep up with Barcelona (were Carbon Expo was held in 2009) but we are keeping the spirits up and the opening event proved to be very interesting with a speech by the German Environment Minister, Norbert Roettgen.
On his round across the fairground the Minister then visited the China booth and the East Asia Pavilion, where Thailand, Mongolia, Lao, and Indonesia and China are exhibiting. Jiao Xiaoping, Deputy Director General, CDM Fund, China, welcomed the Minister and presented him with the latest report on "Clean Development Mechanism in China". We'll soon have it up here.
|No mountains are visible beyond this pollution cloud. (Late November 2007)|
It certainly feels like the worst of winter is over for another year, well until December anyway. Daytime temperatures now reach above 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) regularly, the city’s ice sculptures have melted and the slippery footpaths have thawed, making walking in the city safer and easier. There’s also a visible improvement in Ulaanbaatar’s (UB) air quality.
On most days, from my office window, I can now see the beautiful snow-dappled mountains that surround UB; during the heavily polluted winter months the horizon is completely hidden behind a thick grey-brown smoky haze.