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Poor nations need help fighting bird flu

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  • sharon sanders
    Water Management in Poor Countries

    Water Management in Poor Countries

    "Executive Summary"

    At the request of the Secretariat of the Fourth World Water Forum, this paper has been prepared to serve as a "reference point for discussion" on the theme of Water for Growth and Development. It seeks to raise a very basic question ? how can water resources be managed and developed to promote growth and alleviate poverty in a responsible manner? The dynamics of water, growth and poverty are extremely complex, and highly dependent upon specific physical, cultural, political and economic circumstances. The immediate goal of this paper is therefore to provoke discussion and strengthen understanding of the importance of water resources management and development in enabling responsible economic growth and poverty alleviation ? fully mindful of the fact that this is just one of many aspects that must be weighed and understood in managing water resources. The paper?s broader objective is to contribute to a constructive, comprehensive dialogue that will help inform the difficult trade-offs inherent in water management, and assist decision makers in finding the most acceptable balance among human aspirations for growth and poverty alleviation, social and cultural integrity, and environmental sustainability.

    Water as a Source of Destruction and Poverty ? or Production and Growth?

    Water has always played a central role in human societies. Water is a key driver of sustainable growth and poverty alleviation as an input to almost all production, in agriculture, industry, energy, transport, by healthy people in healthy ecosytems. It can be a force for destruction, catastrophically through drought, flood, landslides and epidemic, as well as progressively through erosion, inundation, desertification, contamination and disease. Water is quite literally a source of life and prosperity and a cause of death and devastation. This destructive aspect of water, as a consequence of its extraordinary power, mobility, indispensability and unpredictability, is arguably unique.

    Achieving basic water security, harnessing the productive potential of water and limiting its destructive impacts, has been a constant struggle since the origins of human society. Throughout history, water has also been a source of dispute and even conflict between uses and between users at both local and larger scales. As water becomes ever more scarce relative to demand, there are emerging fears of transboundary waters becoming a source of conflict, constraining growth; conversely, there is also emerging experience of cooperation on transboundary waters, supporting regional integration as a driver of growth.

    As then so today, water resources development and management remain at the heart of the struggle for growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. This has been the case in all industrial countries, most of which invested early and heavily in water infrastructure, institutions and management capacity. It remains the case in many developing countries today, where investments in water development and management remain an urgent priority. In some developingcountries ? often the poorest ? the challenge of managing their water legacy is almost without precedent.

    Learning from Experience

    In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, all industrialized countries invested heavily in hydraulic infrastructure and institutions to facilitate their remarkable economic growth. However, many of the inevitable tradeoffs in water resources infrastructure development were poorly structured and/or projects were poorly implemented, to the detriment of project-affected communities and local natural environments. As a consequence, in recent years a great deal of controversy has grown around water infrastructure development, and particularly large-scale water infrastructure. This has led to a fairly general perception that water resources infrastructure development is intrinsically bad for the poor, bad for project-affected people and bad for the environment. This perception has become a barrier to financing water development, affecting countries with limited infrastructure (generally poorer), more than countries with mature infrastructure platforms (generally richer).

    Responsible Growth

    There is a re-emerging consensus that water resources development and management are essential to generate wealth, mitigate risk, and alleviate poverty; that poverty demands that many developing countries will need to make large investments in water infrastructure at all levels; and that this development must be undertaken building on the lessons of experience, with much greater attention to institutional development, to the environment and to more equitable sharing of benefits and costs. The challenge of "Responsible Growth" is to grow while at the same time embracing both environmental sustainability and social development.2 A responsible path is particularly important in water development because, given the longevity of water infrastructure, many of these decisions will have long-term consequences. Furthermore many decisions ? both decisions to act and not to act ? may have irreversible consequences.....

    .......Yet there is very little discussion of the growth and poverty implications of diminished support for water infrastructure in poor countries ? in particular of the costs of inaction ? and of the moral hazard this entails for donor countries....."

    .......'basic water security' has not been achieved in many poor countries and water remains a key constraint on growth, an unreliable input to production and the cause of major economic shocks. While the returns to society from investing to achieve water security (essentially de-linking water from growth) could be very high, there is generally insufficient national wealth to invest. Taking this argument further, we postulate that societies in areas of water scarcity and/or high climate variability have remained poor and in a low-level equilibrium trap, in part because it has not been possible for them to make the comparatively large investments needed to achieve water security. The global findings of Brown and Lall support this hypothesis by confirming that greater rainfall variability is statistically associated with lower per capita GDP.

    Inadequate water management = lower per capita GDP = no $$$ to fight BF.
    Last edited by Mellie; March 21, 2006, 10:34 PM. Reason: formatting only

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  • sharon sanders
    Re: Poor nations need help fighting bird flu

    March 21, 2006

    A World Bank Mission to Afghanistan -

    Trip to Marzar-e-Sharif

    A colleague, Samuel Maimbo, recently came back from a Bank supervision mission to Marzar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, where he visited a cotton factory. He shared with me his diary from the trip, with some great pictures. A snipet:
    The biggest disappointment was the state of the roads. They were in a complete state of disrepair. Potholes everywhere, waterlogged roads, mud and a complete lack of maintenance. It almost reminded me of Bossaso in Somalia.

    A look into the current conditions in Afghanistan. Clearly, not able to handle any BF problem.

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  • Snowy Owl
    started a topic Poor nations need help fighting bird flu

    Poor nations need help fighting bird flu

    Poor nations need help fighting bird flu

    ATLANTA, March 21 (Reuters) - Fewer than three dozen nations are capable of the early detection and quick response needed to contain rapidly spreading bird flu and other viruses that could threaten humans, a health official said on Tuesday.

    Combating the spread of the H5N1 avian influenza, which has killed 103 people worldwide since it reemerged in 2003, has become critical to governments across the globe because experts fear it could become a pandemic that could kill millions and cause catastrophic economic damage.

    "Developed countries are in position to practice satisfactory early detection and rapid response. Worldwide, only 20 to 30 countries are able to do that currently," said Dr. Bernard Vallat, director-general of the World Organization for Animal Health. "All the others, 140 or more, need help."

    Rich countries need to help poorer ones with detection programs and compensation for farmers to prevent the global spread of "zoonoses," diseases that can spread from animals to humans, Vallat said at the International Conference of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.

    At a January conference in Beijing, governments and organizations pledged $1.9 billion for a global "rapid containment" program for bird flu.

    The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that bird flu killed five young people in Azerbaijan, taking the global death toll to 103 since it reemerged in late 2003. The virus has spread with alarming speed in recent weeks, pushing into Europe and Africa.

    The United States said this week it expects to see its first cases of bird flu this year.

    Scientists say the virus is mutating and could evolve into a form that would pass easily from human to human, potentially causing a pandemic that could kill millions because people would have no immunity.

    The issue of ways to contain it has been a primary topic of debate between hundreds of health experts from some 80 nations gathered in Atlanta this week for the infectious disease conference.

    Vallat named European Union nations, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia as having the ability to respond quickly to an outbreak of bird flu or another threatening virus.

    Experts say outbreaks can be contained by early detection and a quick response. U.S. wildlife officials, for example, are monitoring Pacific bird migration routes for signs of bird flu with the hope of tracking infected birds and giving advance warning to U.S. poultry producers.

    But in many poor countries, it is nearly impossible to know what diseases are circulating because of poor surveillance programs.

    "There are parts of Africa without any surveillance," Vallat said. "Diseases can circulate for weeks in some parts of Africa without being known by the authorities in the capital."

    One of the keys to early detection is a plan to compensate farmers if governments decide to destroy infected flocks. Outbreaks of H5N1 have forced the destruction of more than 200 million birds.

    But in poor countries, farmers may be reluctant to report mysterious deaths in their flocks because they are uncertain whether they will be paid for the lost birds.

    "You can't go to poor areas and take away the people's livelihoods and the food supply and not have them compensated. It's just not right," said Dr. Keiji Fukuda of the World Health Organization.

    European nations such as France, Germany and the Netherlands have compensation plans, as do Vietnam, Thailand and other Asian countries. But many nations have not addressed the issue.

    Vallat said the World Bank and other international financing organizations were working to develop "sustainable" compensation programs. For example, the World Bank made a loan to Vietnam on the condition that it establish a sustainable compensation plan for farmers.