More than 40 heads of state of the world’s least developed countries recently met in Istanbul to define a new vision to reverse the profound poverty of the people living in these countries. While around two-thirds of these 48 countries are in Africa, 14 are in Asia.

After a period of prolonged slow growth, economic growth in the least developed countries accelerated to about 7 per cent per annum on average over the period 2000-2007. And many of these countries have made notable progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In Bhutan and Rwanda, maternal mortality reduced by more than half within the decade. In Bangladesh, Madagascar, Nepal and Timor Leste child mortality reduced by more than 60 per cent between 1990 and 2007.

Read more: The plight of the least developed countries


[Nadi, Fiji – May 2] “Food production in the Pacific need not decrease as a result of climate change. On the contrary, farmers armed with relevant weather pattern information can plan their food production and increase yields in the face of climate change.”

These are the words of Roger Eduardo Rivero Vega, a world renowned agro-meteorologist from the Cuban National Meteorology Institute (INSMET) and the lead trainer at the Workshop on Assessment of Climate Change Impacts in Agriculture that started today.

“You will learn about climate change modeling here and crop modeling, or the response of a crop in relation to the changing environment,” Mr Vega told participants, who are mainly agriculture experts or weather specialists from 13 Pacific Island countries –Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu; as well as representatives from East Timor and the Maldives.

Read more: Agro-Meteorology Can Boost Food Security - Expert


25 September 2010 – Timorese President José Ramos-Horta today exhorted his fellow Asians to take the lead on tackling climate change, telling the General Assembly that his continent needs a common agenda to promote sustainable development, environmental protection and better land and water management.Mr. Ramos-Horta told the third day of the Assembly’s high-level debate that almost a year after countries failed to reach lasting agreement at a major summit in Copenhagen, there was a danger that no meaningful action will be taken and the planet’s health will deteriorate rapidly.

“If we don’t act now, in a few decades many hundreds of millions of fellow Asians will be uprooted and become climate refugees exacerbating existing tensions and conflicts,” he said.

Read more: Timorese leader, at UN, calls on Asia to lead the way on climate change


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