On the surface, the pace of life in the Pacific island country of Samoa is slow. Island time. That’s an impression that’s reinforced when touring the idyllic string of resorts and beach fales (small timber and thatch tourist cottages, often without walls and open to the tropical breeze) along the South East coast of Upolu, Samoa. You can watch the heat rise in a haze across the ridiculously tranquil blue waters and golden sands, as coconut palms wave, and tourists enjoy a weekend drink in the seafront restaurant of the locally-owned and recently rebuilt Tafua beach fales.
|Rainfall is essential to recharge the freshwater lens that lies beneath coral atolls in Kiribati. Without it, the i-Kiribati people would not be able to grow plants and crops vital to their livelihood.|
Freshwater can be extremely scarce in the Republic of Kiribati, home to over 100,000 people scattered across 22 islands in the Central Pacific. Each year after a long dry season, significant rainfall is generally expected to arrive during November or December. Yet over the last few months only a tiny amount of rain has fallen. The islands are dry.
This is consistent with forecasts that predict La Niña conditions will result in below normal rainfall during the 2010-11 wet season across the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati.
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.