Development Advocate Blog

      • Affordable Measures

        02 Dec 2013

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        Tsho Rolpa Glacial Lake, one of the lakes potentially dangerous for GLOF. Photo by Deepak KC / UNDP Nepal

        GLOF risk reduction effort should focus on innovating affordable community-led measures Shoko Noda The Hindu Kush Himalayan region in Asia is home to over 200 million people. In addition over a billion people downstream depend on the rivers and waterways that are fed by these glaciers. As the impacts of climate change become apparent, glaciers in these mountain ranges appear increasingly vulnerable to changing climactic conditions. Loss of glaciers means loss of critical storehouse of freshwater for future generations. It also means an increase in the glacial related disasters, such as glacial lake outbursts floods (GLOFs). Thousands of glacial lakes have already been formed behind the thinning and unstable ice dams. The sudden collapse of such dams can cause catastrophic floods that destroy lives, forests, property, farms and infrastructure. The devastating power of GLOFs can reach hundreds of kilometers downstream uprooting communities and infrastructure in their wake. Even large scale international assistance may not be adequate to address the enormous scope of the challenge. There are over 20,000 glacial lakes in the Himalayas and in Nepal alone 3 are considered to be in potentially dangerous state, according to a 2009 study by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). As the Read More

      • Nepal in the booming South

        15 Mar 2013

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        As development experts would tell you, there is no theory of development as such, but only of underdevelopment. Experts can explain why certain countries have failed to develop, but they can not necessarily prescribe a definitive development path that can lead country X or Y to prosperity. As the rise of the countries in the global South who have adopted different models than that of traditional welfare state in the North shows, there is no one size fits all solution. Each country, including Nepal, has to find its own way. The Global Human Development Report 2013 which was released late yesterday in Mexico endorses this view of multiple development paths and paints a very hopeful picture of the state of global development. It hails the rise of the South and documents key interventions that have allowed the region to grow rapidly. The Report observes that the economic growth of developing countries is influencing global financial architecture by introducing indirect competition and pressuring traditional donors—away from the terms set by ‘Washington consensus’—to pay greater attention to the needs of the developing countries.  “Overall, the rise of the South is infusing new patterns of resource accumulation into the global financial system and building Read More

      • Off-grid Prosperity

        24 Jan 2013

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        Photo credit: The Kathmandu Post

        In September last year, I was in Kharbang Bazar, Dagatundada VDC in Baglung—several hours’ drive from the district headquarters on a muddy seasonal road—to witness the transformational changes ushered in by a basic service that many of us may take for granted: access to modern energy.  The catalysing effect of modern energy in the form of a 75 kilowatts (kW) micro hydro plant on the development of this village is self-evident. Noodle and soap factories have flourished; school dropout rates have decreased because kids have time to study at night under the light and, in fact, enrollment in the public school has increased because it provides modern computer education; quality of health services have improved because vaccines can be stored in refrigerators, x-ray and pathological laboratory facilities are now available within the village; and the level of public awareness has risen with the introduction of local community radios and access to computers and the internet. A milk vendor does not have to worry about his unsold milk spoiling any more. He can preserve it in a chilling vat. Women do not need to wake up at four in the morning to mill rice and flour in traditional labour-intensive mills.  Access to Read More

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