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UN: Mangrove loss 'intensified' Myanmar cyclone damage
May 16, 2008 09:28 AM - , SciDevNet
Large-scale destruction of mangroves contributed heavily to the damage inflicted by cyclone Nargis in Myanmar last week, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Myanmar, home to the eighth largest mangrove area in the world, has lost large swathes of mangroves over the last four decades. FAO estimates from 2005 put the loss at around 70,000 hectares between 1972 and 2005, but 2008 estimates suggest this could be much higher.
Ignored warnings 'worsened' Myanmar cyclone disaster
May 12, 2008 09:02 AM - , SciDevNet
Experts say the inadequate response of the government of Myanmar (formerly Burma) to scientists' warnings, coupled with large-scale destruction of protective mangroves along its coasts, aggravated the devastation wreaked by tropical cyclone Nargis. The cyclone has killed an estimated 22,980 people so far, with millions rendered homeless by the disaster, which struck the Irrawaddy Delta region of Myanmar last week (3 May).
WHO urged to back radical changes in drug R&D
May 12, 2008 08:41 AM - , SciDevNet
An international group of prominent academics — including several Nobel prize winners — has urged WHO member states to support radically new ways to address the lack of research into diseases that affect the poor. In particular, they are seeking a sizeable increase in government support for research into these diseases through an international research and development (R&D) fund, and alternatives to the financial incentives of patents.
New project targets post-harvest loss in Ethiopia
May 7, 2008 09:58 AM - , SciDevNet
A new programme to develop low-cost technologies to reduce post-harvest losses will be launched in Ethiopia this year. The six-year programme will run at Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine (JUCAVM) in Ethiopia, with US$3 million funding from the Canadian International Development Agency.
Sudanese climate scientist receives prestigious award
April 28, 2008 06:28 AM - , SciDevNet
A Sudanese climate researcher has been honoured by the UN Environment Programme in recognition of her work on climate change and adaptation in conflict-stricken Darfur. Balgis Osman-Elasha, a senior researcher at Sudan's Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, was presented with a 'Champions of the Earth 2008' award this week (22 April), along with six other awardees from Bangladesh, Barbados, Monaco, New Zealand, United States and Yemen.
Scientists sequence GM papaya genome
April 25, 2008 10:03 AM - , SciDevNet
[BEIJING] Scientists have sequenced the genome of a genetically modified (GM) papaya, a step that could benefit both cultivation of the fruit and the understanding of fruit tree genomics. As the first GM virus-resistant fruit tree to be sequenced, the researchers also hope it will further the understanding of GM genomes and the effects of inserted genes.
US 'plans cut to global agricultural research funds'
April 23, 2008 09:34 AM - , SciDevNet
Despite rising food prices and restrictions on food exports the United States is planning to cut funding to international agricultural research, scientists claim. In February this year officials from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) warned that a cut in funding was likely. The actual figure is yet to be announced, but it could be as much as 75 per cent according to a spokesperson from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Reducing deforestation 'lucrative' for forest nations
April 21, 2008 07:38 AM - , SciDevNet
Financial incentives for cutting carbon emissions could earn developing countries up to US$13 billion in carbon credits per year — but there are several issues for policymakers to tackle first, says a new study. The study, published in the latest issue Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, analyses the best ways to reward developing countries that manage to reduce their carbon emissions from deforestation.
S&T has vital role in sustainable farming
April 18, 2008 08:28 AM - , SciDevNet
A recent report is a welcome analysis of modern agriculture's future, but it fails to adequately recognise the role of science and technology. There are areas in which science and progressive politics make comfortable bedfellows. Climate change is one such example. The direction in which the scientific consensus on the dangers of global warming points — towards a world based on reduced carbon emissions — is compatible with a broader commitment to both environmental sustainability and social equity.
World risks 'scientific apartheid', says top African scientist
April 16, 2008 08:43 AM - , SciDevNet
[ALEXANDRIA] The world risks "scientific apartheid" between rich and poor countries unless research and technology is better used to benefit the poor, says one of Africa's leading science experts. Ismail Serageldin, director of Bibliotheca Alexandrina and former chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) made the comments in his keynote address to the BioVision Alexandria conference in Alexandria, Egypt, yesterday (14 April).