« Ne perdez pas votre temps avec des programmes locaux d’amélioration génétique si quelqu’un peut améliorer les semences pour vous. Nous sommes un petit pays, et n’avons pas les moyens de réinventer la roue ». C’était un conseil pragmatique d’un agronome bhoutanais en visite en Bolivie il y a quelques années. Sa déclaration pourrait s’avérer véridique principalement dans les pays aux réserves financières limitées. Cependant, je crois fermement que la mise en œuvre d’innovations agricoles exigent un rapprochement du global au local dans le cadre d’un partenariat mutuel, avec de fortes capacités mises en place sur le terrain. En voici un exemple.
“Don’t waste your time in local breeding programs if someone else can improve the seed for you. We are a small country and cannot afford to reinvent the wheel”. This was the pragmatic advice of a Bhutanese agro-scientist visiting Bolivia a few years ago. His statement might be true, especially in resource-limited countries. However, I strongly believe that implementing agricultural innovations requires bridging the global with the local in a two-way partnership, with strong capabilities in the field. Here's a good example.
Mountain climbers and skiers are witness to major changes in the Andean landscape over the past few decades. The main snow-covered peaks of the Andes have already lost between 30% and 50% of their glaciers. Climate models predict that this massive loss will continue in the coming decades as a result of global warming.
The other day I had the opportunity to participate in the annual CAF conference on Infrastructure, this time held in Mexico City. The conference featured CAF's new IDEAL report on the state of infrastructure in Latin America and the conference, attended by many decision and opinion makers from across LAC, was organized around findings of the report.
I had a few takeaways from the discussions, notably that (1) there is convergence on a range of key issues and (2) there are some important Bank messages that are unique:
Both the states are endowed with nature’s bounty and its curse: rich in biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides but highly vulnerable to the climate change and natural disasters and environmental degradation that development impacts bring.
Environmental sustainability and climate change resilience are thus a top priority, and it is no surprise that both the states are leaders and frontrunners in formulating green growth and development strategies in their respective countries.
It was therefore very apt for a delegation of senior officials from the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh to visit Quintana Roo to exchange ideas, share knowledge and best practices with their counterparts.
It’s not easy to reach Morro da Formiga, a favela that perches precariously like a bird’s nest on the side of a cliff in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. But once you get there, its dramatic view of lush forested hillsides is impressive. It wasn’t always like this though. Sixteen years ago, it was just a barren mountain with recurring mudslides threatening its residents.
Morro da Formiga is one of 144 sites of Rio’s reforestation program. I visited last week, together with a team from the Environmental Secretariat of Rio City Hall and a journalist from Agence France Presse.
Morro da Formiga. Photo: Franka Braun
Since 1986, the Environmental Secretariat of Rio’s City Hall (SMAC) has led a community reforestation program and planted over six million seedlings on 2,200 hectares of land within the city limits. Rio had long suffered from deforestation of its hills as a result of development, causing soil erosion, sediment build-up in waterways, floods, landslides, and pools of water filled with disease-carrying mosquitos.
As porteñas as tango, yellow bicycles from the Buenos Aires’ bike-sharing system have undoubtedly become a part of the urban landmark. In a city dominated by buses and taxis, bicycles have recently made a comeback and are slowly reclaiming the road through the bike sharing system –or bicing as we all call it. Known as Ecobici, this system has celebrated the millionth trip last December and is here to stay.
What makes Ecobici different from other bike sharing systems around the world? We think it’s about two simple answers: it is operated manually and doesn’t cost an Argentinian peso.