Reindeer Herders, Reality TV Show Among Finalists in World Bank Contest to Fight Global Warming

By Penny Starr | November 11, 2009 | 4:51 PM EST

One of the finalists in the World Bank contest for projects to help poor countries 'survive' global warming is from Peru and focuses on indigenous people who live on a communal reserve. (Photo courtesy of Ricardo Marcos Vargas Salas)

( – The World Bank will award more than $5 million in grants to 25 projects deemed best at helping people in poor countries survive the effects of global warming.
Jurors will pick the winners from 100 projects that made the final cut. They include a plan to help reindeer herders adapt to habitat damage cause by “climate change," and an Indian reality radio and TV show featuring women who will “tell of climate options.”
On Friday, a panel of jurors from the World Bank, the Royal Danish Embassy, the United Nations and other organizations will award the 25 grants, each totaling about $200,000.
Funds for the grants come from the Global Environment Facility, the International Fund for Food and Agriculture, the World Bank and the Danish Foreign Affairs Ministry, which is hoping to gain momentum for the United Nations summit on global warming, set to take place in Copenhagen next month.
“All the finalists’ projects are built around adaptation, which doesn’t stop or slow down climate change, but helps people manage against weather extremes like flooding and drought that are projected to get worse,” said an article posted on the World Bank Web site. “Such natural disasters, caused or exacerbated by climate change, most often hit the poor and the vulnerable in developing countries.”
The premise of the contest is that weather extremes are caused by global warming. This year, the World Bank invited organizations from around the world to submit ideas for helping poor communities “survive” global warming.
The Web site article claims that some of the finalists were not able to attend the event because of global warming.

“The journeys of several finalists were interrupted by the very kinds of extreme weather that projects are targeting,” the article states. “Eugenio Manalo of a Philippines-based project chose to stay behind and work on relief aid for victims of recent typhoons there.

“Finalist Lisel Alamilla of Belize, facing poor rural road conditions, had to scrap plans for a commercial flight and charter a single-engine Cessna to Belize City’s international airport,” the article states. “Nidia Matamoros of Nicaragua, a member of the Miskito indigenous group’s project, saw her trip delayed because of storm-canceled flights, but managed to arrive Sunday.”

Some of the 100 finalists include:
-- The Russian Federation’s request for a $178,565 grant “to facilitate reindeer herding under the field conditions affected by global climate change in order to eliminate negative effects on the traditional life of the Kola Peninsula’s indigenous people.” The project will help about 50 families, according to the project summary.
--  A project from Peru, entitled “Recovering Ancestral Memories and Techniques to Confront Cold Spells,” is asking for $62,500. A summary says that the rationale for the project is “cold spells” that have occurred in the last few years in the High Andean region of the country. “There are ways to mitigate the effects of cold spells,” the summary states. “Specifically, by recovering ancestral knowledge and techniques that are easy for the population to implement.”
--   An organization in El Salvador is seeking $200,000 for its “Communities Seek Salvation in the Rare Art of Listening to Mother Nature.” The project seeks “to recover, record and raise awareness of the knowledge of 100 indigenous wise women regarding the properties and interpretation of the language related to the climate and earth as a support tool for preventing climate change-related risks.”
-- $200,000 is sought by a Bangladesh organization for “Floating Flood Shelters and Lanterns that Send Cell-Phone Warnings of Floods.” The project promotes a trademarked solar lantern and in its summary states that “over the next 40 years, 17 percent of the land will lost to the sea, resulting in 20 million climate refuges.”
More than 1,700 proposals from 47 countries vied for the top 100 spots, which are on display at the World Bank building in Washington, D.C. , through noon on Friday.