Displaying 1-7 of 7 key documents
Source: UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
This document presents a collection of selected papers produced for and discussed at the Second International Conference on Early Warning, in Bonn, Germany, in 2003, and four regional conferences in Africa, Asia/Pacific, America and Europe. The conferences focused on integrating early warning into sustainable development policy. The document notes the failure of scientists, policymakers, local authorities and other relevant actors to use early warning systems efficiently, and makes suggestions for improvement. It highlights challenges, lessons learnt and possible trajectories for further development of early warning systems, and outlines key steps towards strengthening frameworks, finding resources, and designating responsibilities. Key areas for action include improving data collection, ensuring that warning systems focus on people and achieve gender balance, and creating platforms for early warning dialogue.
Source: Springer-Verlag | June 2011
This peer-reviewed paper examines the factors that motivate people to innovate, with the authors arguing that material rewards, such as capital or patents, make up only one aspect of their motivation. Using grassroots innovation in India as a case-study, the study found that the intrinsic rewards of "getting things done" and satisfaction play just as important a role as extrinsic factors, such as increased income.
The authors developed indicators of motivation by looking at innovation as a process of three stages — idea generation, experimentation and application. They found that intrinsic motivations were particularly important in the early stages, when there are high levels of uncertainty about the innovation. They conclude by outlining implications of their findings for innovation policies, suggesting that use of funding and patents could negatively impact innovators by reducing their desire to share their ideas locally.
This review article, published before the accident at Fukushima, discusses the immediate and long-term prospects of nuclear power development to meet future carbon-free energy needs. It explores opportunities and constraints of generating a nuclear power 'renaissance', and puts forward six possible options for building a sustainable nuclear energy industry.
The authors say that nuclear technology is at a crossroads, and if it is to move forward a two-stage strategy is needed. The first stage must involve developing or extending the life of the world’s existing nuclear plants over the next two years, to improve their efficiency and reliability. In the second stage, after 2030, the industry should look to build new nuclear power stations with large-scale fuel cycles that may include fuel reprocessing. They highlight measures that, if taken now, could make nuclear a viable energy option in the future.
Source: The Lancet | December 2007
This series of five articles outlines new challenges and unsolved problems since the journal's last series in 2005. The first article ([189kB]) predicts the disease burden and economic losses that developing countries would face from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes. In the 23 countries that the authors incorporated into a model, chronic disease was responsible for 50% of the disease burden in 2005. If no action is taken, they say, about US$84 billion of economic production will be lost from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes alone in these 23 countries between 2006 and 2015. The second article ([105kB]) looks at how to scale-up strategies to fight chronic diseases in developing countries. The authors review evidence to identify which methods are cost-effective and financially feasible, and therefore ready to be scaled-up.
Tobacco control, salt reduction (both of which are detailed in the series' third paper ([177kB])), and a multidrug strategy to treat individuals with high-risk cardiovascular disease (see an in-depth look in paper four ([220kB])) are prime candidates for scaling-up. What effect improving health systems has on the level of chronic diseases should be properly evaluated, say the authors. For some health interventions, such as preventing or controlling diabetes, there is little cost-effectiveness data for low or middle-income countries, but their scientific effectiveness is so compelling that countries should consider how best to incorporate them. The final paper ([92kB]) is a call to action to incorporate existing interventions into healthcare programmes, which in 2005 was costed at US$5.8 billion.
Source: UN Development Programme and TIMSS | 2003
This study outlines the findings of the 2003 TIMSS for the participating Arab countries, namely, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian National Authority, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia. TIMSS is a study of cross-national achievement in mathematics and sciences for fourth and eighth grade students since 1959.
The report provides useful data on each of the participating countries, and compares Arab and international average scores. It includes data on average achievement scores, resource availability, access to computers, the number of curriculum hours designated, teacher characteristics and credentials, and classroom characteristics and instruction quality.
The study finds that while most Arab countries lag behind the international averages, a few have made progress since the last exercise in 1999. It also highlights interesting aspects of this difference and suggests measures to improve student achievement. The document is especially useful for educators in Muslim countries seeking credible data and analysis on student achievement.
Source: International Journal of Biotechnology | 2005
This research article, by Rosemary Wolson at the University of Cape Town, assesses South Africa's biotechnology policies, reviewing three major initiatives — the national research and development strategy, biotechnology strategy and proposed laws to govern intellectual property rights derived from publicly funded research. Wolson explains the origins, goals and implementation of each.
The projects aim to create a coordinated strategy for promoting biotechnology in South Africa. Wolson concludes that the efforts are an encouraging sign of governmental commitment, but notes the continuing challenge of integrating the individual projects into a coherent framework. This may depend on promoting social networks to catalyse innovative industries.
She calls for the government to encourage more private enterprise and investment while remaining committed to basic research.
This article is useful to anyone hoping to understand the policy framework for biotechnology in one of sub-Saharan Africa's key scientific and industrial powers.
Source: Crop Protection | 2004
This research article assesses the potential for biotechnological approaches to overcome major pests, diseases and weeds undermining food security in Africa. The eight authors review three major constraints — parasitic weeds and herbicide-resistant grasses, insect pests, including those carrying plant diseases, and mycotoxins that damage stored grains.
They note that biotechnological solutions to some of these are already being explored, such as insect resistance in maize, but they say that others, like the control of parasitic weeds, will require longer-term study. The authors argue that these should be prioritised in public research programmes and supported by the private sector through donations of useful genes and technologies.
Their methodical discussion helps identify key priority areas for crop biotech research in Africa. This article will be useful to policy analysts, decision makers and research managers working in the field.