Friday, May 30, 2008

Lake from quake!

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, partially submerged Yuli Town of worst-hit Beichuan County, southwest China's Sichuan Province is seen Wednesday, May 28, 2008. More and more buildings and roads of Yuli Town were submerged because of the swollen Tangjiashan quake lake, Xinhua said. (Source: AP)

An aerial view shows the landslide mud that formed the Tangjiashan quake lake near Beichuan county, Sichuan province, May 26, 2008, in this picture distributed by China's official Xinhua News Agency.

This combination picture of satellite images taken by Taiwan's National Space Organisation (NSPO) shows a lake being formed by landslides caused by the recent earthquake in Beichuan county, Sichuan province, China. The top picture shows the river in 2006. The second and third image show the lake after the quake. (Formosat image © 2008 Dr. Cheng-Chien Liu, National Cheng-Kung University and Dr. An-Ming Wu, National Space Organization, Taiwan/Reuters)

WEF Report: Africa @ Risk 2008

World Economic Forum (WEF) has published a report on Africa highlighting four key risks for Africa: food security, geopolitical instability, economic shocks and climate change. It says that the prospect of sustaining 5% growth rate is credible, but a number of risks loom large, threatening future development and stability.

1. Food and Freshwater Security How best can Africa cope with increasing food and freshwater insecurity? What are the risks and opportunities for the region?

2. Geopolitical Instability Can Africa sustain and consolidate progress on transparent and democratically accountable governance? Can it increase its institutional capacity to prevent, manage and resolve both intrastate and interstate conflict?

3. Economic Shocks Can African resource-rich countries reduce their commodity dependency by diversifying their economies? How can wealth be better distributed? How can African countries increase their trade benefits?

4. Climate Change, the Environment and Challenges to Africa’s Development How will global warming affect Africa? How best can the region, countries, businesses and communities adapt to mitigate its effects?

Urgent collective action is required, including raising agricultural productivity, strengthening local adaptation to climate change, improving governance and enhancing economic resilience through diversification. Decision-makers cannot assume that tomorrow’s growth story will read like today’s. The economic fundamentals are in place, but political dynamics and the scope of structural reforms are more likely to shape the next chapter. The report concludes that for Africa – a continent characterized by huge opportunities and ever-increasing regional and global interdependence – the imperative is for collective action to mitigate these shared risks.