Connect with us

News

ADB Approves $274M Loan to Upgrade Roads Vital to Uzbekistan’s Regional Connectivity

Published

on

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved a $274.2 million loan to reconstruct 240 kilometers (km) of highway in the western part of Uzbekistan and improve safety at key sections of the country’s national road network to expand regional trade and road transport connectivity.

“As a double-landlocked country, Uzbekistan has made regional connectivity the centerpiece of its transport policy,” said ADB Senior Transport Specialist Pawan Karki. “This project will help to develop the country’s potential as a regional transport and logistics hub between Europe and South and East Asia, promoting economic growth.”

As part of the project, a 240-km section of the Guzar–Bukhara–Nukus–Beyneu highway in Karakalpakstan will be reconstructed as a two-lane, cement concrete road including access roads to link villages to the highway. The road is one of the region’s key trade routes and part of Corridor 2 of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program.

The road will incorporate climate resilient features suited to the arid climate of Karakalpakstan, where temperatures are expected to rise by almost 5ºC by the end of the century. The project will also construct five rest stops with separate sanitary facilities for women and market stalls, 50% of which will be allocated for women entrepreneurs.

To improve road safety and traffic efficiency, the project will help the Ministry of Transport install an intelligent transport system along a 100-km pilot section of the Tashkent–Namangan road, which has among the heaviest traffic in Uzbekistan. The system will monitor traffic and road conditions in real time, feeding information and warnings to display boards and websites.

Two fully automated weigh-in-motion facilities will be installed at select points of the national road network to avoid overloading of vehicles on the highway network and prevent accelerated pavement deterioration.

ADB has invested $1.3 billion in road and rail transport infrastructure in Uzbekistan, whose road network is vital to regional connectivity.

The CAREC Program is a partnership of 11 countries—Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—to promote economic growth and development through regional cooperation, and supported by development partners. ADB hosts the CAREC Secretariat in its headquarters in Manila.

Continue Reading
Comments

Energy News

Energy Efficiency Hub launched to boost cooperation on world’s ‘first fuel’

Published

on

The Energy Efficiency Hub – a global platform for collaboration aimed at delivering the social, economic and environmental benefits of more efficient use of energy – was launched on 1 December at an event hosted at the International Energy Agency in Paris.  

The Hub’s initial 16 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Hub aims to facilitate government-to-government exchanges on efficiency policy, regulation and implementation, focusing on topics relevant to real-world challenges faced by its members. The launch event showcased digitalisation, efficient equipment and appliance deployment, best energy efficiency technologies, and energy management best practices as areas of collaboration. 

“Hub Members span the globe, from East to West and from North to South, together accounting for over 60% of energy use and carbon dioxide emissions,” said Ulrich Benterbusch, Deputy Director General of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, who will serve as Chair of the Hub’s Steering Committee.

“In fact, each Member has significant accomplishments in energy efficiency and understands how urgent it is to work together on it,” he added. “Meeting global challenges requires all countries to do better, and – working in concert with other international organisations – the Hub will strive to share its work more broadly and to learn from others.”

The Hub’s launch follows the previous week’s release of Energy Efficiency 2021, the IEA’s annual market report on the subject, which showed that while global energy efficiency improvements are recovering to their pre-pandemic pace, they are still far short of what is needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“I consider energy efficiency to be the very ‘first fuel’ because it is crucial to address climate change and make our energy supplies more secure while also leaving money in our pockets,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director. “I am very pleased to see countries coming together as part of the Energy Efficiency Hub to accelerate efforts in this critical area.”

“Being based at the IEA will enable the Hub to cooperate effectively with IEA experts and the other key initiatives and activities we host, including the Clean Energy Ministerial,” said Dr Birol. “The launch of the Hub is a clear and encouraging signal that momentum is building behind greater energy efficiency action worldwide.”

Brian Motherway, Head of Energy Efficiency at the IEA, said: “Governments need to work much harder if they are to deliver the full potential of energy efficiency and get their energy systems onto a pathway towards net zero. The Hub is an important instrument for countries to learn from each other and work together to strengthen their efficiency policies.”

Continue Reading

Africa Today

Violence in Cameroon, impacting over 700,000 children shut out of school

Published

on

Kidnappings and harassment of students and teachers are forcing schools to close in Cameroon. © Education Cannot Wait/Daniel Beloumou

Over 700,000 children have been impacted by school closures due to often brutal violence in Cameroon, according to an analysis released by the UN humanitarian arm, OCHA, on Thursday. 

Two out of three schools are closed in the North-West and South-West regions of the country. On 24 November, four children and one teacher were killed in an attack in Ekondo Titi, in the South-West. 

Lockdown 

A recent lockdown imposed by a non-State armed group, from 15 September to 2 October, limited access to basic services including health and education. 

During the period, OCHA reported a series of attacks in the North-West. 

Eight students were kidnapped, and a girl’s fingers were chopped off after she tried to attend school. Five public school principals were also kidnapped, including one who was then killed. 

All schools and community learning spaces were closed, except for some schools in a few urban areas which operated at less than 60 per cent capacity. 

The lockdown and insecurity also forced UN agencies and aid organisations to temporarily suspend the delivery of aid. During that time, about 200,000 people did not receive food.  

Multiple crisis 

Nine out of ten regions of the country continue to be impacted by one of three humanitarian crises: the crisis in the North-West and South-West, conflict in the Far North, and a refugee crisis, with people fleeing the Central African Republic.  

Because of these combined crises, over one million children need urgent education support.  

To answer some of these needs, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the UN global fund for education in emergencies and crises, is working closely with UN agencies, the Norwegian Refugee Council and other civil society partners. 

ECW is contributing $25 million over three years and calling for other donors to fill the gap, which is estimated at $50 million. 

When fully funded, the programme will provide approximately 250,000 children and adolescents with access to safe and protective learning environments in the most-affected areas. 

Visit 

Just this week, the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, and the Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, had a joint visit to the country. 

In a statement, Ms. Sherif said the situation “is among the most complex humanitarian crises in the world today.” 

“Children and youth are having to flee their homes and schools, are threatened with violence and kidnapping, and being forced into early childhood marriage and recruited into armed groups,” Ms. Sherif recalled. 

Jan Egeland argued that “putting a schoolbag on your back shouldn’t make you a target”, but unfortunately children in Cameroon “risk their lives every day just showing up for school.” 

“Cameroon’s education mega-emergency needs international attention, not deadly silence by the outside world,” Mr. Egeland declared.  

Continue Reading

Human Rights

Avoid starvation: ‘Immediate priority’ for 3.5 million Afghans

Published

on

Food and blankets are handed out to people in need in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, by © WFP/Arete

Amidst “truly unprecedented levels” of hunger in Afghanistan, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that as winter arrives, avoiding widespread starvation “is an immediate priority”.  

Launching a global fundraising winter campaign to help forcibly displaced families in Afghanistan and elsewhere to cope with the most life-threatening months of the year, UNHCR Spokesperson Babar Baloch described it as “a crisis of hunger and starvation”.

People don’t have enough to eat, and it’s very visible”. 

Displaced lack proper shelter 

Following his recent return from Kabul, Mr. Baloch said in Geneva that a lack of insulated shelters, warm clothes, insufficient food, fuel for heating, and medical supplies are just some of the deprivations confronting people who have been forcibly displaced. 

With temperatures “expected to drop to -25C, many displaced families lack proper shelter – a primary requirement if they are to survive the bitter cold”, he warned. 

3.5 million in need 

UNHCR is appealing for increased support for 3.5 million people displaced by conflict inside Afghanistan, including 700,000 from 2021 alone. 

According to Mr. Baloch, nearly 23 million people, or 55 per cent of the population, are facing extreme levels of hunger – nearly nine million of whom are at risk of famine.  

This year, UNHCR has assisted some 700,000 displaced people across the country, the majority since mid-August.  

The UN agency is helping nearly 60,000 people every week.  

“But as we reach thousands of people, we find thousands more people who are in need of humanitarian assistance”, Mr. Baloch explained, before appealing for “further resources for the most vulnerable”.  

He identified “single mothers with no shelter or food for their children”, displaced older persons left to care for orphaned grandchildren, and people taking care of loved ones with special needs.  

Appeal for more support over winter 

The UNHCR spokesperson noted that the agency’s teams have delivered relief supplies via road through Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and humanitarian flights.  

Five more flights carrying winter supplies are scheduled for next week, Mr. Baloch said, reiterating that support to cope with the extreme conditions will continue until February, including core relief items, such as thermal blankets and warm winter clothing.  

Shelters are also being repaired and reinforced, and vulnerable families are receiving cash assistance.  

Mr. Baloch thanked Government and private donors for their support to UNHCR efforts to aid and protect vulnerable families during the winter months.  

However, he added that a further $374.9 million was urgently needed to bolster UNHCR’s response to Afghanistan next year, particularly, over winter. 

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Energy News2 hours ago

Energy Efficiency Hub launched to boost cooperation on world’s ‘first fuel’

The Energy Efficiency Hub – a global platform for collaboration aimed at delivering the social, economic and environmental benefits of...

Africa Today4 hours ago

Violence in Cameroon, impacting over 700,000 children shut out of school

Over 700,000 children have been impacted by school closures due to often brutal violence in Cameroon, according to an analysis released by the UN humanitarian arm, OCHA, on Thursday.  Two out of...

Human Rights6 hours ago

Avoid starvation: ‘Immediate priority’ for 3.5 million Afghans

Amidst “truly unprecedented levels” of hunger in Afghanistan, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that as winter arrives, avoiding widespread starvation “is an immediate priority”.  ...

Health & Wellness8 hours ago

Omicron: Don’t panic but prepare for likely spread

As scientists continue to investigate the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged countries not...

Multimedia10 hours ago

India’s and Pakistan’s attitude towards Afghanistan | podcast

The CIA, MI6 and the Russian Security Council have recently pointed out that India is emerging as a global hub...

South Asia12 hours ago

Looming Humanitarian Crisis – Millions May Die in Afghanistan

There is a dire need for massive funds transfer to Afghanistan in present circumstances where banks and businesses have collapsed,...

Middle East14 hours ago

Middle Eastern autocrats sigh relief: the US signals Democracy Summit will not change policy

The United States has signalled in advance of next week’s Summit for Democracy that it is unlikely to translate lip...

Trending