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SciDevNet

The Science and Development Network aims to provide reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world. Their goal is to help both individuals and organizations in developing countries make informed decisions about how science and technology can improve economic and social development.


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Countries 'ill prepared' as bird flu risk continues
December 13, 2007 12:54 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

NEW DELHI - Many countries continue to be plagued by poor bird flu surveillance and diagnosis capacity, and weak national preparedness plans, experts have warned.

The third global progress report of the United Nations System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC) and the World Bank is released this month (December). It warns that the risk of global influenza pandemic is as great in late 2007 as it was in mid-2005, when the first cases began to emerge.

Namibia's poor 'will be hit hard' by climate change
December 13, 2007 12:50 PM - Carol Campbell, SciDevNet

Namibia, Africa - Climate change is expected to dramatically alter the lifestyles of poor people in Namibia, say the authors of a study. Their findings were published by the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) this month (December).

Namibia is economically dependent on natural resources. Up to 30 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to be reliant on the environment. Climate change could increase temperatures by 2–6 degrees Celsius by 2100, and rainfall is expected to be lower and more variable.

China and Mexico team up to fight wheat disease
December 13, 2007 12:46 PM - Arturo Barba, SciDevNet

MEXICO CITY - Two agricultural research organisations have agreed to collaborate on research to combat wheat diseases and develop climate change-resistant wheat varieties using traditional methods of breeding.The agreement, between the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, was signed last week.

India stops further trials of HIV vaccine
December 4, 2007 12:04 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

NEW DELHI - Human trials of a US-produced HIV/AIDS vaccine were halted in India last month (November) after it was found to induce poor immune responses.

The vaccine, developed by the US-based Targeted Genetics Corporation, uses the adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a vector to deliver an AIDS vaccine against subtype C, the dominant HIV subtype in India.

 

 

India's National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) tested the vaccine on 30 volunteers.

China moves to tackle pollution effects on health
December 1, 2007 03:42 PM - Taige Li, SciDevNet

BEIJING, China launched its first national environmental health action plan to enable research in the environment and health sectors to be combined more effectively. The Ministry of Health and the State Environmental Protection Administration announced the plan at the third National Environment Health Forum in Beijing this week (21 November).

 

Cutting forests for farmland 'yields meagre financial benefits'
December 1, 2007 03:38 PM - Ella Syafputri, SciDevNet

Nairobi, Kenya - Converting Indonesian forests and peatlands for various agricultural land uses has released huge amounts of greenhouse gases with little economic benefit, according to a new report.

 

 

The report, by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Indonesian partners, was released last week (21 November).

 

 

Data on changes in land use — such as deforestation for oil palm, rubber, coffee and mixed agroforestry — and carbon emissions in the provinces of East Kalimantan, Jambi, and Lampung were collected between 1990 and 2005.

 

Tunisia opens bank of genetic resources
December 1, 2007 12:37 PM - , SciDevNet

Tunisia's president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, inaugurated a national gene bank this month (11 November) to promote the development of sustainable agriculture in the country.

Located in Tunis, the National Gene Bank aims to preserve biological diversity and protect genetic resources, boost scientific research in agricultural biotechnology and promote sustainable genetic diversity for research into plant breeding and crop improvement.

UN: Rich countries driving 'ecological debt crisis'
November 30, 2007 09:16 AM - , SciDevNet

Developed countries are failing to meet Kyoto Protocol targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and must drastically cut them for the sake of poorer countries, says a UN report.

The authors argue that rich countries are driving an "ecological debt crisis", which will affect the world's poor earliest and hardest.

Technology alone will not solve energy crisis
November 17, 2007 09:01 AM - , SciDevNet

There is a strong sense of déjà vu in the bleak picture that the International Energy Agency (IEA) –– sometimes described as "the rich world's energy watchdog" –– painted last week of likely global energy consumption over the next two decades, and its consequences for climate change.

In the early 1970s, open conflict between the Arab states and Israel set oil prices skyrocketing. Simultaneously, the Club of Rome and other organisations warned that the world risked running out of many key natural resources. Both led to widespread calls for massive investment in alternative renewable-energy sources, and for new, non-energy-intensive lifestyles.

Turning the brain drain from threat to opportunity
November 14, 2007 08:29 AM - , SciDevNet

Europe's recent bid to attract more skilled workers underlines developing countries' need for greater – not less – investment in their intellectual capital.

Listen to any developing country leader talk about the difficulties of building a knowledge-based economy, and chances are high that the brain drain will top their complaints. What is the point in investing in training cadres of scientists and engineers, they argue, if they immediately leave for better-paid jobs in the developed world?

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