SWEDOW cows and rotting apricots: bad food aid proposals gaining support of MPs

Just as the US is pushing to reform its long criticised food aid program, Queensland graziers and Victorian stonefruit growers are calling on the Australian government to purchase and send surplus livestock and agricultural products to developing countries in the name of ‘helping’ – and their idea is being backed by some federal MPs.

Ashlee Betteridge writes on why these suggestions are such a bad idea for aid effectiveness.

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Asian Development Bank defies G20 — China Daily, AsiaOne, East Asia Forum, AFR

There’s a strong and welcome trend toward appointing the leaders of major international organisations through competitive processes-except in Asia.

The Asian Development Bank, whose president has just stepped down to head Japan’s central bank, looks set to appoint its new president just as it has always done: in a hurry, behind closed doors, without competition, and from Japan.

Opinion piece by Stephen Howes, Robin Davies and Ashlee Betteridge from the Development Policy Centre on a lack of transparency in the leadership selection process at the Asian Development Bank.

Full piece published in AsiaOne Business, China DailyEast Asia Forum and the Australian Financial Review.

Avoiding four degrees

A four degree rise in the world’s temperature can be prevented, but it requires governments around the world to focus on greener, more inclusive growth, said a World Bank climate change expert at a Development Policy Centre event.

“Climate change threatens to roll back decades of development and it will be the poor in every country who will suffer most,” said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development, at ANU’s Crawford School on March 21.

“Climate change is the rug that is being pulled out from underneath the poor today and will be pulled out from underneath all of us, rich or poor, in the next 20-30 years,” she said.

Blog post for Development Policy Centre.

Read full blog post here.

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Forests as rainmakers: CIFOR scientist gains support for a controversial hypothesis

A new study boosts support for the physics behind a controversial theory that forests play a significant role in determining rainfall, creating atmospheric winds that pump moisture across continents.

The model could revolutionise the way we understand local climates, and their vulnerability, with many major implications. It suggests, for instance, that by strategically replanting forests we could attract rainfall into desert and arid regions like the African Sahel, where drought has for years ravaged crops and induced famine.

Likewise, significant forest loss could transform lush tropical regions into arid landscapes.

“This theory provides us with yet another reason to protect and conserve forest cover,” said Douglas Sheil, co-author of the paper published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and a Senior Associate with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Blog story for CIFOR Forests News on controversial research on rainfall physics.

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Doha negotiators must consider Africa’s adaptation challenges

While Africa’s voice has been growing in international negotiations, more focus is needed on climate change adaptation on the continent to protect those who rely on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods, says Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) scientist Louis Verchot.

Story by Ashlee Betteridge as part of coverage of COP18 in Doha, November 2012. (Photo by CIFOR)

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Action on agriculture needed at upcoming UN climate talks — Reuters AlertNet

Support for a work program on agriculture is urgently needed at Doha to incorporate the growing sector into international efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change as well as address looming food security issues, said experts.

“Agriculture is still considered a sideshow in the climate arena and a decision has been lacking over several years of U.N. climate negotiations. Agriculture will be massively impacted by climate change, both the increase in extreme conditions and the rising temperatures. We need global action to ensure food security under climate change,” said Bruce Campbell, head of the CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) research program.

Read full post on CIFOR Forests News or Reuters AlertNet.

(Photo by Neil Palmer/CIAT)