Displaying 41-60 of 68 key documents
This article, published by Mongabay.com, discusses the use of forest conservation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in the Amazon. The author describes the 'reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation' (REDD) mechanism included in the Bali roadmap for international agreement on climate change. He gives a brief history of REDD, explains how it could work and discusses complicating factors including land rights, measurement of deforestation rates, displacement effects of conservation and funding.
The author also discusses how promoting ecosystem services could provide a route to conserving rainforests, citing the example of Canopy Capital — a UK private equity firm that recently bought the rights to environmental services generated by a rainforest reserve in Guyana. He also examines other market incentives that could be used, including satellite surveillance to enforce conservation and certification for farmers following conservation rules.
Source: IFPRI | 2008
This discussion paper, published by the International Food Policy Research Centre, examines the potential for mitigating climate change through carbon trading, with particular emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa.
The authors provide an overview of global carbon markets, highlighting Africa's share in these, while outlining the obstacles African nations face in participating. They also assess mitigation opportunities in agriculture, land use and forestry in the region.
They conclude that Sub-Saharan Africa has much potential for mitigating emissions through forestry and cropland management, but action is constrained by existing capacity, funds, property rights and the price of CO2 equivalents. They also suggest that integrating the region into global carbon markets will require new international capacity-building and advisory services, simpler rules for participating in the Clean Development Mechanism, access to emission allowances and credits, and more involvement in voluntary markets.
Source: PLoS Biology | October 2008
This article examines the US Bayh–Dole (BD) Act — a 1980s measure that sought to stimulate science-based economic growth by encouraging universities to patent inventions resulting from government-funded research — and assesses its suitability for developing countries.
The authors look at how and why advocates of BD-type initiatives sometimes overstate its impact in the United States and discuss the problems the act has caused for American biotechnology and information technology.
They outline the policy options for developing countries seeking to improve the contributions universities make to economic development and provide a list of safeguards that should be put in place before adopting laws styled after the act. These include no exclusive licensing, transparent patenting and government authority to issue additional licenses.
The authors conclude that policies to develop public sector research and development are context-specific and it is unclear whether any of the positive impacts of BD in the United States would arise in developing countries following similar legislation.
Source: Nature | October 2008
This collection of features and commentaries, published by Nature, reflects the broad spectrum of activities and opinions of members and associates of TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world.
With more than three dozen articles written by prominent scientists working on research or policy issues in the South, the collection examines a range of topics in science-based international development — from the relevance of subjects like mathematics or physics, to the increasing roles of biotechnology and renewable energy.
The achievements made and challenges still facing developing countries in key areas like agriculture, health, climate change and energy are also discussed. And evidence from across the South is presented to show how strengthening science can help achieve economic goals and what more is needed to ensure that knowledge and development are shared by all.
Source: The Lancet | October 2008
This series of commentaries and research articles — published by The Lancet, the Peking University Health Sciences Centre and the China Medical Board — addresses China's major health challenges, strategies and future. It has been produced by a group of 63 scientists from 10 countries with Chinese scientists making up two-thirds of the authors.
The research papers give scientific evidence on key health issues including the emergence and control of both infectious and chronic non-infectious diseases in China as well as the performance of China's healthcare system.
Authors of the series' commentaries further discuss a range of topical issues affecting China's health system, including the state of biomedical science and technology (see 'Progress in Chinese biomedicine a massive challenge'), medical research ethics, the lessons learnt from China's schistosomiasis control programme and the challenges the country faces in controlling HIV/AIDS.
Source: British Medical Journal | September 2008
This article examines the rising rate of antibiotic resistance, and proposes action to reverse the trend. The authors call for leadership at international and national levels, a change in the behaviour of consumers and providers, and the development of antibacterial agents to match existing public health needs.
They suggest that international bodies such as the WHO should provide coordination and resources for generating key information on the burden of antibiotic resistance, and call for individual governments to set up multidisciplinary action programmes. They also examine the methods needed to better inform the public and discuss alternative approaches to developing new antibacterials, including product development partnerships and gap analyses.
Source: Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências | September 2008
This paper discusses ways of reconciling the Millennium Development Goals with environmental sustainability. Using an example from Brazil — the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) — the authors examine why researchers aiming to produce sound scientific understanding to support sustainable development often fall short.
Translating knowledge created by the LBA project into public policies proved difficult. The authors blame this failure on resource limitations, weak institutions and scientists' inexperience in applying science to real situations.
They suggest that establishing centres of excellence in developing regions is a necessary first step to creating a bottom-up approach to sustainability that includes innovative ways of assessing ecosystem services. These centres must be able to effectively use and produce applications-directed research and bring it to bear on decision-making related to environmental change and sustainable management of natural resources, say the authors.
Source: WMO Bulletin | July 2007
This paper discusses likely future changes in tropical cyclones, questioning whether they will become more intense following higher sea surface temperatures. The author outlines the different approaches currently taken to climate modelling and discusses the results of characterising current and future climate using the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg model, comparing them to observations.
Most climate models predict stronger tropical cyclones in a warmer climate, as an increase in latent heat provides more energy for the storms. But the author claims there is less evidence for a reduction in the frequency of storms in a warmer climate. Still, such a reduction could result from a general weakening of large-scale atmospheric circulation (which reduces the number of cyclones) caused by the rapid increase in water vapour that would follow a rise in global temperatures.
Source: PLoS Medicine | September 2007
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) practically define health efforts in the 21st century, but they virtually ignore non-communicable diseases such as mental health, say these authors. This is despite evidence that mental health disorders are among the most important cause of sickness and disability and even premature mortality. The authors argue that tackling mental health problems will be vital to achieving the MDGs, and three in particular — eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, and improving maternal health.
Poverty and hunger are well-recognised risk factors for mental health, but mental health also makes it harder for people to escape the hunger trap. Mothers who are depressed during pregnancy and post natally, are more likely to have underweight babies; not only that, the illness means these mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding and less likely to ensure their children are properly immunised than mothers without depression.
The authors advocate that strengthening basic health-care systems should be holistic. For example, developing countries need more and better-trained health workers but they should not only know how to deliver babies but also how to counsel new mothers. HIV/AIDS programmes, as another example, should ensure that individuals not only have good access to antiretrovirals but also to treatment for depression if they need it.
Source: PLoS Medicine | June 2007
Schizophrenia is relatively rare — affecting 1% of the world's population — but is arguably one of the most severe mental illnesses. Diagnosing and treating it can be hard enough in developed countries; the challenges are magnified in developing nations with inadequate health systems; few trained staff; and pervasive social stigma. So how best to treat it? In this debate, three psychiatrists offer their different viewpoints.
Vikram Patel, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says the shortage of mental health specialists means that the most effective way of spreading the expertise around might be for non-specialist health workers or community representatives to be trained to bear the brunt of providing first-line mental health services. Saeed Farooq, at Pakistan's Lady Reading Hospital, argues that the principles of the WHO's DOTS TB programme, in which patients are given an uninterrupted supply of medication taken under close supervision, could be used to treat schizophrenia. The rationale is that missing medication for schizophrenia, which can be common given the cognitive impairment associated with the illness, has serious consequences and can lead to much higher risks of relapse. R. Thara, director of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, Chennai, India, advocates tackling stigma by offering proper treatment. In India at least, he says, the mystification of mental illness is intensified by a lack of awareness about schizophrenia and also by "magico-religious" beliefs. Effective treatment that shows the symptoms to be an illness rather than a religious curse is the best antidote to stigma, he says.
Source: Biotechnology Journal | September 2007
The way discussions about biotechnology are framed is also dealt with, concluding that innovative, new techniques are required to create a rational dialogue with the public.
Source: The Lancet Infectious Diseases | January 2003
Antibiotics are used to prevent or treat disease or to encourage growth in animals intended for human consumption. Opinion is divided over the potential of the practice to cause health problems in people. This forum presents different perspectives from human and animal medicine experts.
The remarkable variation of views indicates the complexity of the debate. For some, there is no doubt that antibiotic use in animals causes resistance in people; for others, the link is present but unclear; and for the rest, not nearly enough is known to start taking action, and they suggest monitoring the situation. All agree, though, that whether in animals or people, antibiotics should be used with caution.
Free registration is required.
Source: The International Food Policy Research Institute
In this paper, G. Pascal Zachary, an experienced development journalist, discusses the challenges to quality development reporting from both developed and developing countries.
He explores the different interpretations of what development is, whether it is positive or negative and how journalists can and should navigate different opinions and ideologies to produce objective pieces, be they in print, web, radio or television.
Though not with specific reference to science journalism, Zachary discusses many issues that are common to all forms of development journalism: issues of free speech, corruption, sensationalism, condescension, the influence of the media, and the importance of giving a voice to the voiceless — the poor that development is trying to reach.
Many of the challenges are shared by Western and developing country journalists alike, others are more specific. Zachary provides suggestions on how these challenges can be overcome, with six other development journalists giving their views on his guidance and adding recommendations of their own.
Source: Biopact | October 2006
In this manifesto, John Mathews, professor of strategic management at Australia's Macquarie University, challenges development organisations to reconsider their position on biofuels. He says countries should follow Brazil, China and India in forging a "new pathway of industrial development", based around biofuels.
Mathews argues that although China and India are seen as big polluters, they, together with Brazil, are actually paving the way for developing nations to invest in renewable energy.
He outlines practical steps for creating renewable energy industries, citing Brazil — the world's leading producer of biofuels — as an example. Mathews sets out 10 arguments for biofuels in the developing world.
Source: International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) | 2005
Innovation systems perspectives on agricultural research and technological change are fast becoming a popular approach to the study of how society generates, disseminates, and utilises knowledge. It provides an opportunity to study and explore complex relationships between the many agents and institutions that make up an innovation system. Early applications of the innovation systems framework to developing-country agriculture suggest opportunities for more intensive and extensive analysis.
This paper analyses these applications and suggests several ways of strengthening the mode of inquiry and quality of analysis. This paper will be of interest to science and technology policy analysts and policymakers in developing countries seeking to apply innovative concepts to agriculture.
Source: ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development)
This report looks at the future consequences of climate change in the greater Himalayan region. Experts predict that global climate change will lead to major shifts in the strength and timing of climate systems affecting the region, and expect this to intensify in mountain areas.
The authors focus on changes in glaciers, permafrost and avalanches, as well as the implications for water supplies, ecosystems and hazards such as glacier lake outbursts and how these threaten regional populations.
The authors emphasise that because the poor and marginalised are likely to suffer the earliest and most, identifying changes in the environment likely to affect them is of utmost importance.
The authors highlight the need to work on policies and strategies — in land use, water management, disaster management, energy consumption and human health — in order to improve the adaptive capacities of communities at risk. They argue that community-led adaptive strategies and capacities, as well as substantial efforts to reverse the human drivers of climate change, are needed.
Source: Pew Center | November 2006
International efforts to address climate change tend to focus on mitigation — the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Another response is adapting to the unavoidable impacts caused by past emissions. Yet adaptation plays a minor role in UN climate negotiations — this report argues that it must be considered on an equal footing with mitigation.
After an introduction to the history of adaptation, the report outlines key policy issues and summarises international adaptation efforts to date. It proposes three potentially complementary approaches to future international efforts on adaptation; using the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to enforce adaptation, integrating adaptation with development and providing climate 'insurance'.
It asks how adaptation can be given greater attention internationally. Its premise is that adaptation requires a concerted effort that benefits from international cooperation. But this is a contested notion.
Source: Production of Vaccines from Applied Crop Sciences | 2005
This document's authors say the development of plant-derived vaccines is straightforward, and that their production could "easily and economically be established in developing countries".
Drawing on consultations with international experts, they examine the elements needed to realise the advantages of plant-derived vaccines for developing countries, emphasising the need for public–private collaboration.
An important requirement, they say, would be to effectively keep drug-producing transgenic plants out of the food supply. How the plant material is processed, packaged and stored is also important.
The document provides an overview of these and other issues, and will be useful to policy analysts, entrepreneurs and decision-makers exploring the potential of plant-derived vaccines.
Source: Chatham House Sustainable Development Programme | 2005
Technology transfer is considered instrumental in building capacity in developing countries, especially for meeting energy needs. This paper offers advice on how relationships between investors and communities can foster effective and efficient transfer of technologies.
Technology transfer must be relevant to local development; thus, community and business partners must establish their needs. The paper also illustrates how important assurance mechanisms, transaction costs and trust are in creating a successful technology transfer project. The key lessons include feasibility assessments, to minimise transaction costs while maximising assurance mechanisms, and to raise awareness of local politics.
Source: United Nations University/Institute for New Technologies (UNU/INTECH) | 2000
This paper examines the dynamics of technological learning during the process of industrialisation. It focuses on the case of South Korea and draws policy implications for developing countries.
The paper shows that as South Korea transformed itself from an agrarian economy to a newly industrialised one, it relied initially in acquiring foreign technologies and then started duplicating these imported technologies. It then moved to more sophisticated creative imitations and only later was able to introduce original innovations. The paper concludes that developing countries have much to learn from South Korea by developing policy initiatives that integrate several elements of the Korean experience such as export promotion, human resources development programmes, and incentives for complementary technology transfer and indigenous R&D efforts.