The Lower Mekong basin is rich in biodiversity; however, there are considerable knowledge gaps in many areas regarding existing biodiversity and the threats it faces. Through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research program, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting three regional networks of scientists to better understand some of the region’s most pressing biodiversity challenges. USAID PEER is a global competitive grants program that allows scientists from developing countries to apply for USAID funds for research and training activities in partnership with U.S. Government-funded collaborators. The project has an annual call for proposals and supports research activities in a range of areas related to USAID’s development priorities.
The goal of Engagement for Equity is to support vulnerable and marginalized groups, and strengthen civil society’s role in influencing the development and effective implementation of policies affecting these communities. Through the provision of sub-grants and targeted technical assistance, the program supports local civil society organizations working on behalf of vulnerable and marginalized communities to:
- The Government of Liberia (GoL) reports no new EVD cases since July 12, discharges two of the four remaining EVD patients from Montserrado County EVD treatment unit (ETU)
- During the week ending July 19, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) confirms three new EVD cases, a 79 percent decrease from the previous week
- From July 13–19, the Government of Guinea (GoG) reports 22 new EVD cases, a 70 percent increase from the previous week
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) regional Private Financing Advisory Network-Asia program will assist businesses, governments, and others in Asia’s developing countries to mobilize and scale up investments in clean energy. A previous USAID program had achieved broad success in mobilizing more than $275 million in new private investment for 21 clean energy projects across the region. The primary goals of the new five-year program, which will end in 2018, are to mobilize at least $1 billion in funds for clean energy investments and avoid or reduce greenhouse gas emissions amounting to at least 40 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Mekong Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change (USAID Mekong ARCC) project identifies the environmental, economic and social effects of climate change in the Lower Mekong Basin. The five-year, $9.4 million project helps vulnerable populations in rural areas adapt to climate change impacts on water resources, agricultural systems, biodiversity, ecosystems and livelihood options.
Despite a wealth of natural resources and enormous agricultural potential, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faces serious food security challenges. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) estimates that national food production is currently 30 to 40 percent below national consumption. The country has very low agricultural productivity, high levels of animal and plant diseases, frequent flooding, isolated agricultural production areas, high population pressure and land conflicts limiting access to land. Abysmal infrastructure – roads, storage facilities, and markets – further exacerbate food insecurity.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is entering a critical period in its democratic transition, which began in 2006 with a new constitution. The 2011 elections were fraught with charges of fraud, and the upcoming elections face numerous political and logistical hurdles.
There are about 3.5 million out-of-school children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, an estimated 20 percent of children in the DRC will never attend school, due to prohibitive fees, distance from a school, and other societal barriers.
The macroeconomic environment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has markedly improved in recent years, yet the lives of most Congolese have not. In 2013, the DRC gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was $288, the lowest in the world and well less than half of its 1960 value. Approximately 80 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty with the majority engaged in subsistence agriculture. The DRC has the highest number of undernourished people in Africa and the highest prevalence of malnutrition in the world. Only 14 percent of Congolese households have access to electricity.
Last updated: July 29, 2015