The two great challenges of the 21st century are the battle against poverty and the management of climate change. On both we must act strongly now and expect to continue that action over the coming decades. Our response to climate change and poverty reduction will define our generation. If we fail on either one of them, we will fail on the other. The current crisis in the financial markets and the economic downturn is new and immediate, although some years in the making. All three challenges require urgent and decisive action, and all three can be overcome together through determined and concerted efforts across the world. But whilst recognising that we must respond, and respond strongly, to all three challenges, we should also recognise the opportunities: a well-constructed response to one can provide great direct advantages and opportunities for the other.
|Photo © Curt Carnemark/World Bank|
Climate change is not a new phenomenon. It has been around through much of Earth’s history. But what is new is the speed of climate change today and the growing certainty that it is a consequence of human actions. Why should poor and developing countries worry about climate change? Many say that it is a distant threat of uncertain magnitude and scale. With the global financial crisis, is it not more reasonable to address current priorities such as food security, unemployment, growth and burgeoning fiscal deficits?
Some readers and activists may question why the World Bank Group funds coal-fired power plants and yet professes to embrace sustainable development. The answer is that there is an urgent need for energy in the poor countries that we serve and indeed in my home country, China. There are roughly 1.6 billion people in developing countries--700 million of whom are in Africa and 550 million in South Asia--who lack access to electricity.
Over the past year the world has experienced unstable prices in more ways than we could have imagined not that long ago. Just as turbulent as international stock exchanges and food prices? Crude oil.
The financial meltdown dominates agendas across the world today, in the wake of two other recent shocks--high food prices and energy price volatility--that have particularly affected many developing countries. Yet, even in a time when countries are preoccupied by pressing economic problems, we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball of another emerging crisis---global warming caused by climate change. Every crisis is an opportunity. With the right handling, we could simultaneously solve the current financial crisis and prevent the emerging climate change crisis.
There's been a lot of crowing in Washington these past few days.
|At the pace of development of Cambodia's economy, the pressure on these indigenous communities has grown quickly.|
The province is really beautiful, with the road traveling first through a dense jungle and then arriving on more open hilly plateaus. The province has some very nice landscapes, as well as powerful waterfalls such as Boo Sra (see picture). We stayed in the provincial capital, Sen Monorum (which in Khmer means very enjoyable!), at one of the few hotels in the city. The whole province is very sparsely populated, with about two habitants per square kilometer.
Mondulkiri is one of the provinces with the highest proportion of minority groups (in fact "minority groups" are a majority of the population).
I’ve been blogging on my personal site (www.natedownthere.blogspot.com) for the past few years, reflecting on my experiences working and living in Angola, Chad and Myanmar, and traveling to a number of other countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Haiti. I’ve written about my life in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as topics related to international development and global health.
Hi everyone and welcome to Youthink! I'm excited to be part of the Youthink! blog, which I hope will be a wonderful way for all of us to share our ideas of how we see, and hopefully can shape, the world around us. I’ve been blogging on international politics, economics, and development on my personal site (http://blog.zzzeitgei.st/) with young scholars for some time. With my training in anthropology and development, much of my work and research is focused on issues facing young people throughout the world.