Connect with us

News

Belarus Builds Forest Resilience to Climate Change with World Bank Support

Published

on

Modern forest management, reforestation and new forest areas will help the Belarusian forest sector adapt to storms, climate change and pests, thanks to the EUR 12 million Additional Financing for the Belarus Forestry Development Project (FDP), approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.

“The climate is changing, and Belarusian forests need to adapt to the new weather conditions. The project will help Belarus to cope with extreme weather events, such as the catastrophic storm in the summer of 2016 that blew over some 14,000 ha of forest,” said Alex Kremer, World Bank Country Manager for Belarus. “Moreover, improved forestry practices boost the rural economy by creating more jobs and business opportunities,” he said.

The additional financing will enable the scale-up of selected activities initiated under the original project, including the creation of two additional tree nursery complexes in Mogilev and Grodno Oblasts and the purchase of essential forestry machinery and equipment. With the original loan and the additional financing, six nurseries will be upgraded, one for each Oblast in Belarus.

“Increased nursery capacity will help provide the planting stock needed for the rehabilitation of windblown and other damaged forests, and support Belarus in the design and management of more climate resilient forests,” said Andrew Mitchell, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project. “The activities of the FDP will help improve forest management, identifying the right mixes of species and raising the quality of seedlings, which will become a solid base for reforestation in Belarus.”

Cooperation between Belarus and the World Bank in the forestry sector started with the earlier Forestry Development Project, implemented from 1994 to 2002. It promoted economically and environmentally sound practices in the forestry sector, and the move to open market pricing for wood and the liberalization of trade in wood and wood products. The ongoing forestry project approved in March 2015 aims to modernize several aspects of forestry sector operations.

Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled US $1.7 billion. In addition, grant financing totaling US $31 million has been provided to various programs, including some that involve civil society partners. The active investment lending portfolio financed by the World Bank in Belarus includes eight operations, totaling US $789 million.

Continue Reading
Comments

Development

World Bank Plans to Invest over $5 Billion in Drylands in Africa

Published

on

The World Bank plans to invest over $5 billion over the next five years to help restore degraded landscapes, improve agriculture productivity, and promote livelihoods across 11 African countries on a swathe of land stretching from Senegal to Djibouti.

World Bank Group President David Malpass announced the investment at the One Planet Summit, a high-level meeting co-hosted with France and the United Nations that is focused on addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.

“This investment, which comes at a crucial time, will help improve livelihoods as countries recover from COVID-19 while also dealing with the impact of both biodiversity loss and climate change on their people and economies,” said Malpass.

The more than $5 billion in financing will support agriculture, biodiversity, community development, food security, landscape restoration, job creation, resilient infrastructure, rural mobility, and access to renewable energy across 11 countries of the Sahel, Lake Chad and Horn of Africa. Many of these efforts are in line with the Great Green Wall initiative. This builds on World Bank landscape investments in these countries over the past eight years that reached more than 19 million people and placed 1.6 million hectares under sustainable land management.

“Restoring natural ecosystems in the drylands of Africa benefits both people and the planet,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.  

Working with many partners, PROGREEN, a World Bank global fund dedicated to boosting countries’ efforts to address landscape degradation, will also invest $14.5 million in five Sahelian countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania.

The World Bank Group is the biggest multilateral funder of climate investments in developing countries. In December 2020, the World Bank Group announced an ambitious new target for 35% of its financing to have climate co-benefits, on average, over the next five years.

Continue Reading

Health & Wellness

Health experts arrive in Wuhan to investigate COVID-19 origins

Published

on

Members of an international team studying the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19 arrived in Wuhan, China, on Thursday, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) announced during an expert meeting on the disease. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, was addressing the latest session of the Emergency Committee on COVID-19 established under the International Health Regulations (IHR), a treaty that guides global response to public health risks. 

The new coronavirus that sparked the pandemic first emerged in Wuhan in December 2019.  Tedros reported that most of the 15 members of the delayed mission are now in the city, although two people are still in Singapore awaiting COVID-19 test results. 

“All members of the team had multiple negative PCR and antibody tests in their homes countries prior to traveling”, he said. 

“The team members who have arrived in Wuhan will be in quarantine for the next two weeks, and will begin working remotely with counterparts in China. They will then continue their work on the ground for a further two weeks.” 

Focus now on vaccine equity, travel prospects 

Thursday marked the sixth meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee on COVID-19.   

Members first convened a year ago, when there were less than 560 cases of the new disease. Today, more than 90 million cases have been reported globally, and the death toll has almost reached two million. 

Tedros said although the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines represents “hope of light at the end of the tunnel”, focus is now on ensuring all countries can access them on an equitable basis. 

He also highlighted two urgent issues for the committee’s attention: the recent emergence of multiple new variants of the virus, and the potential use of vaccination and testing certificates for international travel. 

“One theme ties both issues together: solidarity”, said Tedros.  “We cannot afford to prioritize or punish certain groups or countries. We are all in this together, and we must all come out of it together.” 

Challenges in Africa 

Meanwhile, the UN agency has warned of the need to avert a “runaway surge” of infections in Africa, as cases there top three million and new variants of the virus emerge on the continent. 

COVID-19 cases have risen steadily since mid-September, with a steeper rise from late November, and could increase in the wake of the Christmas and New Year holidays due to travel and festive gatherings. 

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said although virus mutations are not surprising, preliminary analysis reveals that a new variant circulating widely in South Africa, known as 501Y.V2, is more transmissible.  

“Even if the new variant is not more virulent, a virus that can spread more easily will put further strain on hospitals and health workers who are in many cases already overstretched”, she said.  

“This is a stark reminder that the virus is relentless, that it still presents a manifest threat, and that our war is far from won.” 

WHO is supporting African countries with reinforcing genome sequencing efforts, key to finding and understanding new COVID-19 variants. 

So far, 501Y.V2 has been identified in Botswana, the Gambia and Zambia, while Nigeria is further investigating another variant found in samples collected in August and November.   The virus variant circulating in the United Kingdom has not been reported on the continent.

Continue Reading

Tech News

World Bank Group and CES Announce Global Tech Challenge Winners

Published

on

image: ces.tech

World Bank Group and CES announced the winners of the Global Tech Challenge at CES®2021.

The result of a partnership between the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the World Bank Group, the Global Tech Challenge was launched at CES 2020 to reward scalable and innovative technological solutions in three main areas: digital health in East Africa, resilience in India and gender equality around the world. Technology solutions that helped communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic were also prioritized.

Selected among over 1,000 applications, three winners were selected for gender equality, 10 for resilience and 17 for digital health. More details about the selected innovations can be accessed here for health, resilience and gender equality.

Global Tech Challenge winners will have the opportunity to access financial and/or technical assistance to pilot and scale their solutions on the ground with private sector companies, governments and within development projects financed by the World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries.  

“From closing the digital divide to building resilience in the face of natural disasters or pandemics, innovation can solve some of the most pressing development challenges. The World Bank Group is pleased to support impactful programs focused on bringing equal access to connectivity to women in developing countries and to recognize cutting-edge solutions such as AI-enabled robots to rebuild homes in post-disaster areas. Now is the time to scale up solutions that have proven effective, so that no one is left behind in the new digital era,” said Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure.

“Disruptive technologies are a fundamental driver of economic growth and job creation—and key to solving development challenges around the world. At IFC, we are proud to support the private sector in bringing these technologies to emerging markets, with innovations that range from portable ultrasound devices that can detect COVID-19 to medical tools that provide real-time cardiac diagnoses even in remote areas,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer at IFC.

We are thrilled to be continuing our work with the World Bank so the world’s best and brightest innovators at CES can collaborate with the World Bank Group to enter new markets, provide solutions and aid in development,” said Karen Chupka, EVP, CES, Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Owned and produced by CTA, CES 2021 will be an all-digital experience connecting exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world. CES 2021 will allow participants to hear from technology innovators, see cutting-edge technologies and the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world. For over 50 years, CES has been the global stage for innovation, and CES 2021 will provide an engaging platform for companies large and small to launch products, build brands and form partnerships.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Development31 mins ago

World Bank Plans to Invest over $5 Billion in Drylands in Africa

The World Bank plans to invest over $5 billion over the next five years to help restore degraded landscapes, improve...

Middle East3 hours ago

Looming Large: The Middle East Braces for Fallout of US–China Divide

China would like the world to believe that the Middle East and North Africa region does not rank high on...

Defense5 hours ago

India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture

In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of...

Health & Wellness6 hours ago

Health experts arrive in Wuhan to investigate COVID-19 origins

Members of an international team studying the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19 arrived in Wuhan, China, on Thursday,...

Southeast Asia7 hours ago

Learning to build a community from a ”Solok Literacy Community”in the West Sumatra

Established on September 21, 2020 in Solok City, West Sumatra Province, Indonesia. Solok Literacy Community initiated by the young people...

Middle East9 hours ago

JCPOA Implementation Amid a Tug of War between Rhetoric and Facts

The man behind the insurrection at home and disarray abroad! A few days before the fifth anniversary of Implementation Day...

Green Planet11 hours ago

2021 will be defined by the more long-term crisis facing humanity: Climate change

Rather than low-tech and often unworkable solutions (reduced or no travel, mass vegan diets) governments are increasingly embracing technology to...

Trending